March 28, 2003

Teaching Kids Water Conservation

By Luis Generoso

For many children water is the ultimate playground. From swimming pools to the ocean, kids have an innate love for playing in the water. But do your kids also understand the importance of water in everyday life? One way to teach them to value and respect water is to encourage them to conserve it.

“Spend some time with your children and teach them the importance of water and how this resource is very precious,” suggested Chris Robbins, Supervising Management Analyst for the City of San Diego’s Water Conservation Program. “By engaging them at an early age they can develop a solid foundation of water-wise habits that they will carry on for many years.”

Get kids involved. Start by having them turn off the water while they brush their teeth, or put trash in the garbage can instead of the toilet. Little steps can add up to big savings.

Here are some other suggestions to get your kids interested and excited about water conservation:

S Set incentives for your children to save water. By doing so, you are helping to cultivate and instill good water-use behaviors. Assign them to be the household water patrol and have them list ways on how water can be used more efficiently. Before you know it, your kids will be helping you save money on your utility bills.

S Visit the Water Conservation Exhibit at the Rueben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park. This interactive exhibit allows children the opportunity to learn about the sources of San Diego’s water, and the methods of delivering and processing water. The exhibit is sponsored by the City of San Diego Water Department and the San Diego County Water Authority. For more information including ticket fees and hours of operation, contact the Rueben H. Fleet Science Center at 619-238-1233, or log on to their website at

S Water conservation can be fun and educational with the Water Department’s Activity Book. Play fun games with your children, as you teach them how to save water around the house. To request a copy of the Water Conservation Activity Book, call 619-515-3500.

S Enjoy an afternoon strolling through the beautiful, water-conserving, and environmentally sustainable landscapes and gardens at the Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College. For directions, events, hours of operation and other information, call 619-660-0614 or log on to

S Experience what Mother Nature has to offer by taking a family trip to the Wild Animal Park to check out the California Nativescapes Botanical Garden. Learn about beautiful plant species native to our own California habitats of various climate communities. Call 760-747-8702 for more information, or to get a glimpse of the different types of plants, visit the interactive botanical map on

Additionally, there are ways in which parents can encourage their children’s teachers to incorporate water conservation into their curriculum:

 Sign-up for the City of San Diego’s Annual Water Conservation 2003 Poster Contest. The contest teaches students about water conservation through classroom discussion and art. Call 619-235-1984 or email to find out where to get fliers and entry forms. The deadline for this year’s entries is April 3, 2003.

 Call 858-292-3696 to have the “Splash Lab” visit your school. This San Diego County Department of Education and San Diego County Water Authority sponsored interactive mobile lab incorporates multimedia, computer analysis, hands-on experimentation, observation, and group problem solving to teach students about water quality, weather, and storm drain pollution. The ‘Splash Lab” has been extremely popular and has even won the Golden Bell Award. For more information on this and the other educational student programs the County Water Authority offers, please log on to their website at

Water conservation is a family affair. Everyone can pitch in to conserve water by doing their part in turning off the faucet when not in use, reporting and fixing water leaks, or not letting the garden hose run. If you make saving water a normal part of daily chores, practices, and learning, you can be a water-wise family.

The Water Conservation Program reduces water demand through promoting or providing incentives for the installation of hardware that provides permanent water savings, and by providing services and information to help San Diegans make better decisions about water use. For more information about Water Conservation, visit or call 619.515.3500.

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