# Purpose

Water conservation encourages students to become more mindful of their daily direct water use, encouraging them not to waste water when brushing their teeth, washing dishes, showering, etc. These lessons go beyond those activities to encourage a greater perspective and to cultivate students’ awareness and understanding of indirect (virtual) water use “Virtual water, ” which is the water it took to produce the food you eat, the products you buy, the energy you consume and even the water you save when you recycle. You may not feel or see this virtual water, but it makes up the majority of your water footprint. A water footprint is measured in terms of the volume of water consumed, evaporated and polluted, and can be divided into 3 categories:

· Blue water footprint – the amount of surface water and groundwater it takes to make a product

· Green water footprint – the amount of rainwater it takes to make a product

· Grey water footprint – the amount of freshwater it takes to mix and dilute pollutants enough to maintain water quality according to clean water standards as the result of making a product (RISE: Water Footprint Worksheet, n.d.)

The lessons promote conversation about how food choices and shopping habits have a larger impact on water consumption than students may realize. They do this by introducing the concept of water footprints and helping students understand how they use water beyond the tap (Lesson 1: Water Resources and Water Footprints, 2019).

Sources:

### #1 – Water Usage Activity

***note – you will need to take a shower to do this activity and will need to document your work with photos (fully clothed, please!)..

1. You will need a small bucket, a piece of paper, a pen/pencil, a stop watch or clock, and a measuring cup from your kitchen to answer this question. You will also need to take a shower! Watch this Shower Estimation videoHow much water do you actually use in a typical shower? (use the information below to answer this question).

a. Take a shower and record the # of minutes

b. What type of device did you use to measure

c. Put your bucket under the shower head for 30 seconds. How many cups (8 oz) of water were in your bucket after 30 seconds? (photo required here)

d. Multiply the answer in “c” by 2 to determine the # of cups that would be present in 1 minute.

e. Then take the # of cups in 1 minute times the number of minutes of your shower (part a above).

f. We know there are 16 cups in 1 gallon, so we need to determine how many gallons of water we used. Divide the number of cups of water in your shower (part e) by 16 cups. gallons

a. Why does it matter how much water you use in your shower?

b. What activities in your home use water? How might you measure that use?

c. What are some ways you can conserve water at home in each of these activities that use water?

## #2 Water Reflection

1. Use the water footprint calculator link and click “find your footprint” to determine your water footprint.

2. In the first part of the water footprint calculator quiz (up to the “Let’s take a break” section), determine your water use per day? What is your household use?

3. Using the second part of the quiz, determine your virtual water use. This value is the estimate of water needed to produce the food that you eat and the items you use. (This information will be at the bottom of the page that say your personal water footprint versus the US average).

4. Review in detail the Water Footprint Network website. Make some notes on the different statistics you read here.

5. Answer the question: How do the foods you eat and the products you buy affect freshwater resources in a way you never considered before?

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