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Water audit teaches kids about conservation

At a time when nature lovers and environmentalists are increasingly advocating the proper use of natural resources, students in the Nevada City School District are learning ways to conserve water in their daily lives.

The fifth-graders in Jim McQuiston’s class at Deer Creek School performed a water audit – a hands-on science project on water conservation – throughout the 2006-07 school year at Gold Run School, ensuring proper use of water within the school facility. Another fifth-grade class at Deer Creek School, taught by Steve Darden, did a similar water audit in its own school.

“This project started off with an assembly with a fictitious character named Detective Drizzle,” McQuiston said. “This character educated the class on how much water was on the planet and how much of it was useable for humans. Because it is such a small percentage, the kids were shown why it was important not to pollute it and to take care of it.”



The students then checked to see if there were any leaky faucets in the school and how much water was being used per flush or while washing their hands, McQuiston said.

“We discovered some of the sprinklers weren’t properly set, some toilets were using too many gallons of water per flush, and some faucets didn’t have aerators,” McQuiston said. “From that discovery, we realized things could be changed in two ways: A technology change by buying new equipment or a behavioral change where we could change how we use water.”




Students of McQuiston’s class wrote suggestions on conserving water for the student council at Deer Creek, McQuiston said.

“We are finding that 100 percent of students who participate in the water audit project change at least one behavior related to water use in a positive way,” said Jeff Martinez, director of the RiverTeachers program with the South Yuba River Citizens League.

Martinez went to McQuiston with the idea of the water audit, McQuiston said.

The RiverTeachers program offers environmental learning opportunities to local and regional schools, Martinez said.

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To contact Soumitro Sen, e-mail soumitros@theunion.com or call 477-4229.

`Some ways to conserve water in our daily lives:

• Plant drought-resistant landscaping.

• Change sprinkler timings to water gardens at night instead of during the day to avoid water loss through evaporation.

• Use water-effficient appliances.

• Wash full loads of dishes and clothes instead of half loads.

• Use low-flow shower heads and low-flow flushes in toilets.

– Source: Jeff Martinez, South Yuba River Citizens League


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