District’s WaterWise Program Saves Millions of Gallons

Contact: Kirk Welch, 806-935-6401 or kwelch@northplainsgcd.org

This year’s fifth grade Water Wise Conservation Education Program is projected to save almost 25 million gallons of water over the next six years. “The activities are educational and the water kits are well received by students and parents,” said,” Nancy Donges, fifth grade science teacher at Dalhart Intermediate School. “I believe this program really does make a difference,” added Donges. The district began the WaterWise program for fifth graders in 2010, offering water conservation kits and education free of charge to teachers, students and their families throughout the district.

“This year 617 students and their families made changes in their behavior that will result in more than 4-million gallons of water being saved annually,” said Kirk Welch, the district’s assistant general manager for outreach. “The WaterWise Program was chosen to be offered by the district because of its unique combination of in-class conservation education and interactive, home-based conservation activities.” WaterWise achieves additional results that are difficult to measure by causing families to adjust their attitudes and actions regarding our most precious resource.

The program begins with classroom discussions teaching the importance of using water and energy efficiently, followed by hands-on, creative problem solving. Next, participants take home a WaterWise Kit that contains conservation tools. With the help of their parents/guardians, they install the tools in their home and complete a home survey. Here are a few samples of questions asked on the home survey.

Did you install the high efficiency showerhead? Yes – 47%

Did you install the kitchen faucet aerator? Yes – 38%

Did you use the shower timer? Yes – 77%

Before installing the conservation tools in their homes, parents/guardians and students measured the efficiency of pre-existing devices so they could calculate savings generated using the new devices. Using the data from a home survey as the basis for this calculation, 617 households are expected to save the following resource totals. Savings from these actions and new behaviors will continue for many years to come.

PROJECTED ANNUAL SAVINGS

4,311,916

gallons of water saved

14,706

therms of gas saved

135,311

kWh of electricity saved

4,311,916

gallons of wastewater saved

 

PROJECTED LIFETIME SAVINGS

24,492,196

gallons of water saved

86,679

therms of gas saved

798,916

kWh of electricity saved

24,492,196

gallons of wastewater saved

 

By installing and monitoring the new efficiency tools in their own homes, students can measure what they learned with actual water, energy, and monetary savings! These savings benefit both the participating student households and their communities.

The school-based WaterWise Program is fully implemented and designed to generate immediate and long-term savings by bringing interactive “real world” education home with motivated students. Materials meet state and national educational standards, which allow the program to easily fit into teachers’ existing schedules and requirements. All of the teachers responding to a post-program survey reported that the materials were well written and easy for students to use. “I really liked the labs and I wish we could have done them all.” — Linda Henderson, Stratford Junior High School

Students were asked to complete a ten-question test before the program was introduced and then again after it was completed to determine the knowledge gained through the program. On average students answered 64-percent of the questions correctly prior to being involved in the program and improved to answer 77-percent correctly following participation.

This article was compiled from excerpts from the 2017-2018 North Plains GCD WaterWise Program Summary Report.