Conservation Think Tank: News, Ideas and Solutions for Energy and Water Company Thought Leaders

Teaching Water Conservation During the Dreaded Drought Season

Posted by Kristi Longballa

If there is one word that we in the water conservation world dread the most, it's "drought". It’s on every news channel from local to national and even international stations as soon as those hot summer months hit the forecast. You know, those months where the lush green landscapes we love to play in are being threatened by the crispy brown edges that signify a lack of moisture. The same months where the lakes we count on for a refreshing swim start to lose their springtime high water levels. Drought is by far one of the largest topics of conversation during those high-temperature months. Cue the sprinkler system shutoffs.

Why Drought Education Matters

With the arrival of widespread climate change acceptance, this word becomes a hotter and hotter topic (yes, pun intended). So what constitutes a drought? According to dictionary.com, a drought is “a period of dry weather, especially a long one that is injurious to crops.” As if that wasn’t intimidating enough, LiveScience.com tells us that “of all the weather-related phenomena that can cause severe economic impacts in the United States, droughts come in second only to hurricanes, according to the National Climatic Data Center.” Essentially, droughts are a serious problem, and considering they occur in virtually all climates, no landscape is immune. But we have good news: it doesn’t have to be a scary topic. When we approach drought potential with an open mind and consider the resources we have available while we still have them, there is a solution; it starts with making small changes that can add up to a BIG impact.

Making Drought Education Fun (Read: Effective)

I mentioned that we are from the water conservation world. What I mean by that is that our company develops efficiency education programs that help families conserve water (and energy, too!), just by installing measures that help them cut down on unnecessary water use. The education component explains the importance of conservation and why the measures they are installing will help them cut back on their water use. Fairly simple, right?

Saving Water 2We like to make it pretty easy, and fun is our specialty. We focus our water conservation education programs on 5th and 6th Grade classrooms within our clients’ service territories. The complete education program kits are provided by our utility partners at no charge to the participating schools, teachers or students’ families. The students learn the science-based curriculum in their class through lessons and hands-on activities, then they take the kit home with them. Part of their homework is to install these water-saving products, with help from their parents, as the lessons in the curriculum progress. Students share the knowledge they are learning in their classrooms with their family members, and before you know it, the whole family is able to engage in conservation education. The best part is that this program enables families to watch the savings roll in month after month. One student at a time, we do our part to help residents decrease their water (and energy) use, and increase their savings.

Outdoor Water Use is Just as Important

While we offer a whole family of education programs, Outdoor WaterWise™ includes a newly-developed curriculum backed by the key strategies of our proven proprietary Measure-Based Education® method. Outdoor WaterWise™ is focused strictly on outdoor water conservation and was designed to excite students about water conservation through engaging lessons and activities while providing families a no-cost, educational solution to water savings. In order to ensure this program was successful outdoors, we partnered with TORO®, an expert in the outdoor water arena, to develop a kit stocked with products that would yield the outdoor savings utility clients have been searching for. In addition to the products included in the take-home kit, TORO® has also provided inserts designed to help further educate parents on the best water-saving tools they can find in their local hardware stores if they feel inclined to take their newfound savings to the next level.

Outdoor_WaterWise_Kit ItemsWe come from a desert state, so it’s no secret to us that drought years can be devastating to our environment. Take it from us, even if you’re not experiencing a drought right now, you never know when the next one will creep up. It’s more important than ever to start the conservation process early on so that we can preserve earth’s most precious resource. This program is ideal for any areas that have recently experienced drought or may be at risk of one in the future, utilities that are focused on water conservation efforts, and any family that is hoping to save precious dollars on their water bills.

If you would like more information on how you can partner with us to offer the Outdoor WaterWise™ program to your utility customers schedule a meeting today! 

Schedule A Meeting