Water is one of the most important resources we have. Here in the United States, most of us take for granted that we will have safe, clean water available for drinking, bathing, cleaning and watering. It's very rare to have a serious water shortage here to a point beyond where yard watering is limited.
Our water resources aren't infinite, however, despite that water goes through a continuous cycle on this planet. Fresh water can be very hard to come by, and many places are beginning to struggle with how to keep a sufficient water supply available.
This is why it's important for you to teach your kids about water conservation. Helping them to understand the value of water will help them to think about how they use water.
1. Make a Rain Gauge.
You can make a simple rain gauge by placing a glass jar or plastic bottle outside to collect the rain, and then measuring how much rain it collects. The sides should be as straight as possible, and the opening should be about as wide as the rest of it.
Leave it outside when it's raining, then measure how much rain it collects. You can chart it over several days if you like, noting either rain totals or dumping the jar regularly to measure the rainfall for a particular period.
This is a good lesson in how much rain falls in your area. You can talk about what's normal for your area and how it effects the availability of water where you live.
2. Make or Buy a Rain Barrel.
The next step is to make or buy a rain barrel (if permitted in your area) to collect rain off your roof. Show your children how you can use this water around the yard.
Install your rain barrel and take advantage of this free water.
3. Discuss Your Local Water Resources.
This is a good opportunity for a field trip. Visit a local dam or any local water resources open to the public. Tell your kids how the water comes to your area.
If water tends to run short in your area, talk to them about why water can be an issue and what you can do as a family to limit your use of water.
4. Don't Use Pesticides or Fertilizers.
Explain to your kids that when pesticides and fertilizers are used, they get washed down into the gutters and can contaminate the water downstream, as well as the health issues involved in using such chemicals in the first place.