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What's the Cost of Not Conserving?

Who are the water users?

  • To become more aware of water users and uses.
  • To brainstorm ways to conserve water.
  • To practice problem solving in groups.
  • To understand some of the issues surrounding limited water resources.
  • To examine the water problem as it affects countries around the world.

Students can brainstorm answers to the question - "Who are the water users?" Hopefully they will be able to suggest examples from many categories of users. Make a list of all users suggested. Water Use in the U.S. can provide information on industrial, agricultural, commercial, mining, hydroelectric, and other uses.

Group users students list into logical categories/groupings and see if you have representatives from all groups. Students should be encouraged to seek out information to help them expand their list.

Divide students into groups and let them work with 1 category of users. Have them brainstorm ways that users within the group might be wasting water and ways that they might be able to conserve water.

Have each group share a few ideas they brainstormed. Then discuss what might happen if the water users in your area (which includes all of us) did not conserve and continued to use more and more water.

Discuss the water restrictions in your area and/or the need to conserve our water supply. You might wish to have students use the links and activities in the Student section on this site to research more information. Students may not realize that the same water that is on Earth today is the same water that was here when dinosaurs roamed and yet the population and uses for water continue to increase.

As the population of the Earth continues to grow and the water supply remains constant, what new problems will arise? Depending on future rates of population growth, between 2.6 billion and 3.1 billion people may be living in either water-scarce or water-stressed conditions by 2025. A site to look at and use with students is People in the Balance. Maps and data will indicate which countries of the world have water shortages and are faced with shortages in the future. Or you might want to use Water, Water Everywhere? which challenges students to look at population growth and water availability. Links and resources provided in this lesson give you all you need for this investigation.

Distribute the 50 Ways to do Your Part. (See printables page for this PDF file.) See if the ideas listed here might help them see ways to begin saving and working on water conservation.

Now, perhaps it is time to plan your group's action campaign to make others aware of water conservation issues, ways to save water, and what your group has learned!