Are you using too much water?
Water is essential to every living thing in the world. This means that conserving, or saving, as much water as possible is crucial to the betterment of our communities. By changing your daily habits and prioritizing conservation, you can reduce the amount of water you use so other living things can flourish!
This toolkit address the following Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs) within the Performance Expectations of NGSS for Grades: 6-8 and 9-12
- Asking Questions and Defining a Problem
- Planning and Carrying out Investigations
- Analyzing and Interpreting Data
- Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
- Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
- Obtaining Evaluating, and Communicating Information
- Students will analyze their daily habits to see where they can reduce their water usage
- Project Management
- Students will keep track of how much water they are saving
- Students will practice leadership skills by delegating tasks to each other
- Evaluation and Assessment
- Students will track and evaluate the impact of their project
Why It’s Important
Conserving water is crucial for our future. By conserving clean water, you will:
- Prepare for, or even stop, future droughts
- Increase water for others, as it is essential to all humans, plants, and animals
- Save energy
- Save money on your utility bills (water and electric!)
- Build awareness of water-use habits and discover how much we use every day
- Develop gratitude for the clean, reliable water you have
What You Will Accomplish
You will reduce your water usage by implementing different consumption habits in your daily life.
Why Should You Conserve Water?
The resources provided can be shown as a slideshow or printed out as individual worksheets for students to learn.
Fresh Water is Rare
Of all the water on Earth, only 3% exists as freshwater while the remaining amount is salt water located in our oceans. Furthermore, only 0.5% of earth’s freshwater is usable by humans since a majority is either frozen or deep underground. 
We Use a Lot of Water
It may not seem like it, but the average American uses 82 gallons of water every day.  That is enough water to fill up a full size bathtub twice! If you count every single day in a year, the average American uses nearly 30,000 gallons of water annually. On a global scale, humans use 4 trillion cubic meters of water every year. 
Water Pollution is Increaing
Remember that water is used for a variety of industries in addition to maintaining our daily health. Every product requires water for manufacturing, which leads to unwanted pollution. In fact, the UN estimates that 80% of sewage systems–in developing countries–are left untreated and pollute local lakes, rivers, and coastal regions. 
Why Water is a Social Justice Issue
In recent years, we’ve seen cases of contaminated water (most notably Flint, Michigan in the USA), rising water bills due to drought, and local governments not proactively investing in water infrastructure. Communities that are not directly at risk can’t fully relate. For example, what if you woke up in the morning and turned on the tap to wash your face, but it was dry? What if, instead of going to school, you had to spend hours a day traveling to get clean water for the day—an amount so small you had to choose which uses for the water were most important?
Watch these two short videos to learn why it’s important to reduce air pollution!
Think About It!
- Where do you see water being used the most?
- What do you think happens to water after it’s used or wasted?
- Describe a time where you saw water being wasted or overused.
- Why do you think conserving water is important?
Take Action: How to LAUNCH a Water Conservation Campaign
Follow the steps below to set up a successful Water Conservation Campaign at your school! Need help? Contact us!
Step 1: Gain Participants
- Determine who and how many students/staff are participating.
- Invite attendees to support your efforts.
Use the Water Conservation Sign Up Sheet to track participants.
Step 2: The Pre-Analysis
Using the Water Footprint Calculator, have each student calculate the amount of water they use. Have each student document this number by using the Water Conservation Pre-Analysis worksheet so they can compare their results at the end of the toolkit.
- Use water footprint calculator to measure water usage
- Fill in answers using Water Conservation Pre-Analysis Worksheet
Step 3: Gather Your Materials
Before you start conserving water, gather all of the materials you need to reduce your water use:
- Print worksheets and resources
- Print or make signs
- Get writing utensil
- Get items to reduce water
- Water bottle
Step 4: Conserve Your Water at School
Now it’s time to start conserving at your school! Create classroom guidelines and actions on how you can reduce your school’s water footprint. Some actions you can take include:
- Bringing a reusable water bottle
- Look for leaking pipes/faucets
- Turn off the sink when using soap to wash your hands
- Clean surfaces with buckets of water instead of a hose
- Ask the school to install a water bottle refill station
- Reduce creating waste (We all have a virtual water footprint too!)
Put reminders around the classroom or your home (ex: near sinks) so you don’t turn on the faucet – you’ll be amazed at how automatic the reach for the knob is!
Step 5: Conserve Your Water at Home
Now it’s time to start conserving at home! Be sure to track how much water you are using with the Water Conservation Tracker worksheet. There are many ways you can conserve water in your home. Use some of these examples to reduce your water footprint:
- Take shorter showers
- Put a bucket in the shower to collect the cold water as you wait for it to heat up
- Use reusable water bottles
- Turn off your faucet when brushing your teeth or washing dishes
- Reduce watering gardens
- Obtain a rain barrel
- Reduce amount of car rides
- Reduce electricity use
- Reduce meat consumption
Step 6: Measure Your Water Usage
After 1 month, have students redo the Water Footprint Calculator Quiz and see how much water they consumed in a month. Compare these new results with your previous ones and calculate the amount of water they reduced using the Water Conservation Tracker. Add the total amount of water conserved to report your impact!
Ask local clothing stores if they are willing to let you borrow clothing racks and hangers for your event.
Step 7: Get the Word Out
Educate the school on how important it is to reduce their water consumption. Have students report your results and let others know what actions they took to reduce their water consumption. They can do this by using the infographics and facts provided above and speaking during morning announcements, speaking during lunch, or conducting a walking assembly!
How’d It Go?
- What changes do you see in your team’s water use?
- Where did you see water being the most wasted?
- Will you change your water habits as a result of the project? If so, how?
Report Students’ Impact
Congratulations!! You’ve implemented Water Conservation! Don’t let all that hard work go unnoticed. Submit your results by clicking the green button below.
Project ongoing? No problem! Let us know what you’ve done so far.
By reporting your impact, Grades of Green can:
- CELEBRATE and elevate your students’ hard work and success.
- Offer our programs FREE for all students across the globe.
- AWARD stipends and certificates to hard-working educators and students.
Please take a few minutes to submit your results. Thank you!