If your kids are too young to remember the millennium drought, there’s a chance they aren’t quite on board with how, and why, to use water responsibly.
The good news is that caring for water starts at home and, as dry conditions continue, we have a great opportunity to start a conversation about how we use water, and model responsible water use for the next generation.
If there’s a young person in your life who takes long showers, leaves the tap running or tips their drink bottle down the sink instead of on the garden – read on!
1. Make it interactive – become leak detectives with younger kids and go on the hunt around your house to check taps and appliances for leaks. You’re looking for taps, hoses or shower heads that drip, wetness around your washing machine and dishwasher connections, damp patches on the walls or soggy patches of grass outside. Kids also love checking for toilet leaks by lifting the top of the cistern and adding a few drops of food colouring to the water. Wait 10 minutes (without flushing) and see if there’s any colour in the toilet bowl – if there is, you’ve got a leak!
2. Make it fun – recreate the urban water cycle at home using only a zip lock bag, some textas and some masking tape! Kids will get to see the process of condensation, precipitation and evaporation to get an understanding of where water comes from.
3. Make a water-saving commitment as a family – have conversations around the dinner table about how you can work together as a family to reduce your water use – you could:
- Commit to keeping showers to four minutes each. Anyone who goes overtime has to do the washing up!
- Each member of the family will scrape dinner plates instead of rinsing under the tap
- If you’ve got a freshwater fishtank at home, make sure the dirty water goes on the garden! It contains lots of nutrients your plants will love and gives the water a second life too.
- Get outside together and put mulch on the garden to reduce evaporation
4. Get out in nature (once the current fire danger subsides and this smoke clears!) – there are lots of things you can do around our dams which are a great tool for starting a conversation about water.
Head to the Cotter Dam for a picnic (there’s BBQ and toilet facilities and a big kids playground) and walk the discovery trail to learn about Canberra’s water history. It’s hard to take a trip to the Cotter without seeing wildlife too!
Recreation is also allowed at Googong Dam, like kayaking, sailing and fishing. Petrol powered boats and water craft aren’t allowed though, and it’s important you don’t swim. Remember that dogs are not allowed at the foreshores, as the dam holds our drinking water and these activities affect water quality. Check in with Parks ACT for any park closures due to Total firebans.
5. Book a tour – schools and community groups can also book a tour to learn more about Canberra and Queanbeyan’s water! Icon Water’s Education program offers free guided tours for local groups to learn about the amazing journey through the ACT’s water and sewerage system, and our water supply and treatment processes.
We would love to hear about how you teach your kids about the value of water on Facebook. You can even share your own water saving tips this summer for your chance to win $100 to spend at Bunnings (maybe on a more efficient shower head or some mulch for the garden!).