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Education for Kids

​What can I do?...  Everyone wants to do their part to keep safe, affordable drinking water available in their community. With these simple suggestions it's easy for you to do your part too!  

Protect Ann Arbor's Water Resources
The Huron River is Ann Arbor's main source of drinking water. Did you
know that the storm 

 No Dumping Drains to Riverdrains lead directly to the river, without treatment? Dumping waste into storm drains, ditches, or waterways contaminates drinking water supplies, recreational areas, and wildlife habitat. Plus, it is illegal! If you see illegal dumping, tell your parents and ask them to report it right away. You will help prevent further water contamination and reduce potential clean-up costs.


Conserve Water
Clean water should not be taken for granted! Read the tips below and start practicing water conservation throughout your house.

duck with dishwasher cartoonduck in bathtub cartoonduck doing laundry cartoon
Illustrations by Robert Zimmerman National Geographic

In the Bathroom

  • Take shorter showers.
  • Draw less water for baths, try only filling it halfway.
  • Don't use the toilet as a trash can: tissues, cotton balls, etc, should be thrown in the garbage, not flushed.
  • Turn off water while brushing teeth.
  • Tell Mom or Dad if you notice a leaky faucet
    ACTIVITY: Ask your parents to help you check your toilet for "silent" leaks by placing a little food coloring in the tank and seeing if it leaks into the bowl.

In the Kitchen or Laundry

  • Remind your parents to only run the dishwasher for full loads
  • Don't let the faucet run to get a cold drink, keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead.
  • Remind your parents to only run the washing machine for a full load of clothes.


  • Remind Mom and Dad to only water the lawn and garden when it needs it. One inch of water every 10 days keeps lawns healthy and green. Water at cooler times like at night or early in the morning to prevent evaporation.  
    ACTIVITY: make a rain guage out of a 1 inch tall tuna can and measure water collected from rain and sprinklers. Remind your parents to water less if the can fills up in less than 10 days! 
  • Adjust water sprinklers so that they are reaching the garden and lawn rather than watering the driveway or sidewalk.
  • Remind your parents to cut the grass at least 3 inches high to shade the roots, so that it will be more drought tolerant and won't need to be watered as often.
  • When helping wash the car or your bicycle use a bucket and a hose with a nozzle so that water isn't running during soaping.
  • Sweep the driveway and sidewalk with a broom rather than hosing it down.

ACTIVITY: Make signs to remind your parents and siblings about turning off the faucet. Use the tips you've learned and ask for your parents' permission to place reminder signs around the house.


Great Resources for Water Education 


Water Sense Kids Logo

Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) WaterSense Kids
Check out EPA's WaterSense Kids Page to learn why it's important to save water and tips for how to do it. Then, test your knowledge with the WaterSense pipe maze, but watch out for water-wasting monsters along the way!
Teachers: Use the WaterSense Kids page in the classroom for other great ideas. 

how water works diagram

How Water Works
This Resource from the American Water Works Association provides an interactive tour of 'How Water Works,' including source, treatment, distribution, collection, sewage treatment and reuse. Focus in on Step 2: 'The Treatment Plant' to see and learn about a process similar to what takes place at the Ann Arbor Water Treatment Plant. Then check out the rest of the steps to see how it's all connected!
 kids around earth
Down the Drain
How does your daily water use compare with people in other parts of the world? Use this resource to track your water use, collect data on water usage around the world and find out what you could be doing differently.



EPA 'Thirstin' character illustration 

Drinking Water & Ground Water Kids' Stuff 
Organized by grade level (K-3, 4-8 and 9-12), and with a separate section for Kids and Teachers, this resource is great for information as well as games and activities specific to you!



How Much Water is Used to...

Brush your teeth?
1 gallon

Take a bath? 20 gallons
Take an 8 minute shower?
 36 gallons
Run the dishwasher?
 9 gallons/load
Hand-wash the dishes?
20 gallons

Run the washing machine? 25 gallons/load
Flush the toilet?
 5 gallons

Click here for a Water Use Calculation worksheet (PDF) to find out how many gallons of water you use per day and then read our water conservation tips on the left to see what you can do to use less water! 




Attention High School and Vocational Technical School Students:

 Water Video

Water You Waiting For?
Students trying to pick a career path are encouraged to view this short video from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to learn about job opportunities in the water utility/water treatment area. The value of water, job responsibilities, career successes, and environmental contribution are all covered in the video.




Robert Kellar
Communications Specialist
734-794-6000 x41524

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