About the Presentation
Target audience is elementary school children and above. Justin Tung created the presentation to be used for Educate for the Earth in 2000-2001 at Cornell University. Educate for the Earth was an student run organization to help educate children about their environment and encourage sustainability and stewardship of the Earth.
What is water?
Water comes in 3 forms ice, water (the type that we usually see in oceans and lakes), and vapor (form of water in the air) – all have a clear color.
Where does it come from?
Water comes from sources on the Earth and is located in many places:
Some of these are: oceans, rivers, lakes, atmosphere, underground wells, and glaciers in places like the Antarctica.
Why is it important?
Our bodies are around 55-60 % water and the earth is 70% water.
We need water to live and stay healthy since a large percent of us is water.
Like us plants and animals also need water to survive. These include all living things both on land and underwater and of course water is obviously important to sea life like coral reefs, fish and sea plants.
What is water conservation?
It means to save and recycle our water so we use as least water possible.
“Water recycling is a critical element for managing our water resources. Through water conservation and water recycling, we can meet environmental needs and still have sustainable development and a viable economy.”
-Felicia Marcus, Regional Administrator Water Division Region IX
Water recycling is reusing treated wastewater for beneficial purposes such as farming, business, and home processes as well as refilling a ground water supplies (water recharge). A common type of recycled water is water that has been reclaimed from city wastewater, or sewage.
Through the natural water cycle, the earth has recycled and reused water for millions of years. Water recycling, though, generally refers to projects that use technology to speed up these natural processes.
There are numerous water recycling projects to increase the quality of water that is recycled because the usual quality now is non-drinkable, but still useful for farming and industries.
By providing an additional source of water, water recycling can help us find ways to decrease water taken from sensitive ecosystems. Other benefits include decreasing wastewater discharges and reducing and preventing pollution. Recycled water can also be used to create or enhance wetlands and habitats.
In some cases, the reasons for water recycling comes not from a water supply need, but from a need to eliminate or decrease wastewater discharge to the ocean, an estuary, or a stream.
While water recycling is a sustainable approach and can be cost-effective in the long term, the treatment of wastewater for reuse and the installation of distribution systems can be initially expensive compared to such water supply alternatives as imported water or ground water.
As water demands and environmental needs grow, water recycling will play a greater role in our overall water supply. By working together to overcome problems, water recycling, along with water conservation, can help us to conserve and manage our vital water resources to last into the future.
What do you do already at home that conserves water?
Watershed – Adopt Your Watershed – http://water.epa.gov/action/adopt/index.cfm
Encourages the saving and looking over of the nation’s water resources. Through this effort, Environmental Protection Agency challenges people in the community to join them and others who are working to protect and restore our valuable rivers, streams, wetlands, lakes, ground water, and estuaries.
What you can do at home
- At home you can significantly reduce the amount of wastewater from home systems and sewage treatment plants by conserving water – less water use means less waste.
- You can try using low-flow taps, shower heads, reduced-flow toilet flushing equipment, and water saving appliances such as dish and clothes washers.
- Repair leaking water sources in your house.
- Avoid letting taps run unnecessarily like when people brush their teeth they leave the tap on.
- Wash your car only when necessary; use a bucket to save water or go to a carwash that uses water efficiently and disposes of runoff properly – runoff is a source of waste and pollution.
- Do not over-water your lawn or garden. Over-watering may increase leaching of fertilizers to ground water.
- When your lawn or garden needs watering, use slow-watering techniques such as trickle irrigation or soaker hoses. (Such devices reduce runoff and are 20- percent more effective than sprinklers.)
Cleaning water process (figure 1):
- Coagulation – Coagulation removes dirt and other small things caught in the water. Chemicals are added to water to form tiny sticky balls that stick to the dirt and sink to the bottom of the water.
- Sedimentation – The heavy balls settle to the bottom and the clear water moves to filtration.
- Filtration – The water passes through filters, some made of layers of sand, gravel, and charcoal that help remove even smaller pieces of dirt and other things.
- Disinfection – A small amount of cleaning liquid is used to kill any bacteria or small living things that may be in the water.
- Storage – Water is stored in a large pool in order for dis-infection to take place. The water then flows through pipes to homes and businesses in the community.
What’s wrong with this picture (figure 2):
Stream erosion – the sides of the stream should be maintained – the sides are weak because people have stripped the sides of plant life which holds the soil together
Oil dumping – leads to pollution of soil and ground water, also affects local wildlife
Over fertilization – can kill plants, harm the soil and create runoff pollution where fertilizers enter the water system
Water waste – we want to conserve water and use a little as possible to keep our environment healthy
United States Environment Protection Agency (EPA). (2001). Adopt a Watershed. Retrieved March 2001, from US EPA: http://www.epa.gov/adopt/
United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (2001). Water Kids Stuff. Retrieved March 2001, from US EPA: http://www.epa.gov/ow/kids.html