Water Conservation Education

For more than a decade, the West Harris County Regional Water Authority (WHCRWA) has sponsored water conservation education programs for area students that are aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills guidelines (TEKS). The programs are offered at no charge to the schools in grades 2nd, 4th and 5th, and address multiple disciplines – science, social studies, language arts, and math.

When WHCRWA was created by the Texas Legislature in 1999, they faced an epic challenge. WHCRWA wast tasked to secure the future water supply, construct the new water delivery infrastructure, and generate the funding to accomplish it – all within a set timeframe. The enabling legislation also required the new agency to “promote water conservation.”

The residents within the WHCRWA’s boundaries knew very little about the changes on the horizon…in the source, delivery and price of their drinking water. A massive outreach effort – that included newsletters, brochures, Town Hall meetings, public forums and a comprehensive website – was launched. Keenly aware that it wouldn’t work to fix just half the problem, along with the coordination and construction of a new infrastructure, the WHCRWA also addressed the “demand” side of the issue. Almost from day one, a strong “use water efficiently” message was included in all communications efforts.

WHCRWA offers three Mobile Teaching Labs

  1. Water is Life Mobile Teaching Lab
  2. Water Quality Mobile Teaching Lab
  3. Learning from our past… to influence our future

Information on the Save Water Texas Assembly Programs.

These programs are also included at no cost to school’s within the boundaries of WHCRWA.

Watch the video below for information on our Teacher’s Workshops

Water is Life Education Program (Mobile lab 1)

1. The first diorama demonstrates (surface) uses of water (homes, agriculture, manufacturing, etc.) and examples of ground water features (aquifers, water tables, etc.). The water cycle is apparent in the diorama with images of clouds and green surfaces and ground water. Green surfaces transpire (give off H2O); this moisture – and water from lakes, rivers, streams and oceans – is heated by the sun, and evaporates; this condenses into rain; the rain descends into surface
water structures (rivers, lakes, oceans) and some filters into the ground. And the cycle repeats.

2. Body of water — The model and accompanying display show the percentages of water in various parts of the human body. This display underscores the fact that life is dependent upon potable water, partially because so many organs of our body require it to function.

3. Pollution — nonpoint source and point source — can be broadly defined as water pollution from known and unknown sources, and that includes storm water drainage. This display allows students to view a range of sources. Extending the sources to include individual behaviors such as littering and storm water drainage off of streets that contains oils, rubber from tires, etc. can be summarized: “If it’s on the ground…it’s in your water”.

4. Water usage in the home (represented by 100%) shows how water is used at home, by breaking out percentages of the total — such as the bathroom, kitchen, etc. Suggest to students that their behavior can change the represented percentages in the display; this knowledge can help empower kids to understand and subsequently control their individual uses of water by their actions, such as choosing to take shorter showers, etc.

5. “How much water does it take?” is an amazing presentation the water used in manufacturing a variety of items, such as blue jeans. Consider starting a discussion about this display by asking students “If you had a limited number of gallons of water YOU could use per day, would you choose jeans or a hamburger?” Stress that our individual use of water is choices we can actively make.

6. Models of structures for composting are displayed to give examples of a variety of ways to contain yard trimmings. The interactive presentation on how long it takes to decompose items is a fun challenge… with some surprises for most of us. This is a god place to discuss what items are bio-degradable and non-biodegradable.

Water Quality Mobile Teaching Lab (Mobile lab 2)

The Mobile Teaching Lab contains information on:

  • Stormwater Pollution;
  • Fats, Oils, and Grease (F.O.G.) – Put Grease in its place;
  • Patty Potty, NO WIPES IN THE PIPES;

Lab is staffed by MIZ WATERLADY

More information to come.

Learning from our past… to influence our future (Mobile lab 3)

The West Harris County Regional Water Authority (WHCRWA) provides a Mobile Teaching Lab for use by teachers at Katy ISD’s 37 elementary school campuses and by MUDs within the Authority boundaries.. The traveling social studies/science “classroom” was developed by SaveWaterTexas in collaboration with a team of KISD educators and curriculum specialists.

The Lab emphasizes the theme “Learning from our past…to impact our present…to influence our future.” Interactive exhibits include

  • a 3-D Texas history timeline that takes the students from the Ice Age through 1900;
  • a stormwater runoff pollution waterfall component;
  • and interactive tablets that allow students to test their “water” knowledge and consider future choices when it will be their turn to address water supply issues – conservation, reuse and technology.
  • There is a complete Teacher’s Guide notebook for educators to prepare for the Lab’s visit to their campus, and an instructional video on the website that includes operational details.