Cal Water H20 Challenge: Inspire Budding Environmentalists

Family Fun & Activities | January 6, 2017

Badwater Basin is the the lowest point in North America, Death Valley National Park, California, USA

We all know that water is essential to life on earth. While 71% of the earth’s surface is made of water, 96.5% of it derives from salt water in our oceans, making it undrinkable in its natural state. Practices are currently in place to desalinate ocean water so that it can become drinkable, but it is a costly endeavor, both money-wise and energy-wise, and not necessarily a realistic solution for every corner of the world. With droughts and a growing populating, this has led to water shortages in many locations. That’s why human consumption and subsequent wasteful practices greatly affect the availability of this crucial resource for future generations. It’s up to us to either be part of the problem or part of the solution in the struggle to protect clean water sources.

California in particular has seen a decrease in fresh water in recent years due to an extended drought period. Sixty percent of the state of California is in a severe or extreme drought, making it imperative that Californians act now to conserve water. Part of those actions include teaching the younger generation about limited water resources and how their conservation habits can make a big difference. Cal Water H20 Challenge is doing just that.

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The Conservation Movement
Cal Water H2O Challenge, a project-based, environmentally-focused competition for classrooms, grades 4-6, is working to combat the water shortage in California. Designed in conjunction with NAAEE, the WestEd K-12 Alliance, and Cal Water, and aligned with the Common Core State Standards and complimentary to the Next Generation Science Standards, Cal Water H2O Challenge offers a unique opportunity for upper elementary teachers to facilitate their students’ learning of standards-based content, while developing the core understanding of environmental principles necessary to becoming science-literate citizens.

Teachers can register their classes for the Cal Water H2O Challenge here. Registration ends January 31, 2017. Project submissions are due February 28, 2017.

To learn more about the Cal Water H20 Challenge or to get involved, visit: https://challenge.calwater.com/

Simple Swaps Make a Big Impact
No matter your location, water conservation should be a universal practice for every person on earth. Luckily, there are easy fixes that you can incorporate into your daily life to lower your and your family’s water consumption. The California Water Service has compiled a list of simple changes each family can make:

  • Swap out your old toilet that may be using up to 8-gallons-per-flush of water for a high-efficiency one that only uses 1.28-gallons-per-flush. This could save thousands of gallons per year.
  • Leaky faucets can waste up to 200 gallons of water a year. Commit to fixing any leaks you find in your home or lawn.
  • Turn the faucet off while brushing your teeth to save at least 70 gallons of water per month. You can even go further by installing a water-saving faucet aerator.
  • Replace your regular showerhead with a high-efficiency showerhead and minimize your shower time to five minutes. Each minute less can save up to 75 gallons of water a month.
  • Upgrade your laundry machine to a high-efficiency one to use half the water and energy. Only wash full loads in both the washing machine and dishwasher.
  • Utilize low-water and drought-resistant plants in areas with little rainfall.
  • Limit the size of your lawn.
  • Hold off on new gardening ventures until fall or winter months as they require more water to get started.
  • Strategically place plants that need more water at the bottom of a slope so that they can benefit from water runoff.
  • To reduce evaporation, especially in the hot summer months, protect your plants with mulch and shrubs.

To see the full list, visit: https://www.calwater.com/conservation/conservation-tips/

Our Blog Ambassadors Are Leading the Way
Many of our Blog Ambassadors have committed to doing their part to conserve water in California. Here are some ways that they conserve:

The Swag Mama only fills her bathtub halfway and her kid’s cups with what they will actually drink.

Happy Mom Blogger teaches her child and his classmates to water their garden with unused water.

Free and For Me blogger, amongst other conservation methods, makes sure the toilet handle is down in her house so that the water is not running.

As for us? Our editor, having lived in a rural town in Costa Rica with limited access to clean water, picked up a few local conservation habits that she still (mostly) adheres to today: turn the shower off when lathering up and shaving, turn the sink off when scrubbing dishes, and refrain from unnecessary flushes.

Join the Conservation Conversation

What are the clever ways that you and your family conserve water? We want to know! Leave a comment in the comment section.


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