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How Can You be a Water Saver?

Our planet is 3/4 water, but 97 percent of that water is salty. Of the remaining 3 percent that is fresh water, about 3/4 is frozen in glaciers and the polar ice caps. As the human population grows, more and more people need fresh, clean water for cooking, drinking, bathing, watering crops, watering farm animals, manufacturing, and more.

  • It takes as much as 75 gallons of water to produce a single ear of corn.
  • It takes six gallons of water to produce every gallon of gasoline.
  • We need 65 gallons of water to manufacture enough steel to make a bicycle

The amount of water on Planet Earth is the same as when the dinosaurs roamed. The exact same water that Tyrannosaurus Rex drank has been endlessly recycled into the water we use today! We will never be able to create more water, but the demands of growing population are putting a strain on our fresh water supplies. We need to take care of the water we've got so there's enough for humans and for wildlife and plants that keep our earth healthy and beautiful and balanced. This activity explores how much water we use and how we can (1) cut down our individual water use and (2) take care of our fresh water supplies.


  1. Look at the chart below. Use it to keep a journal of how much water you use in a day and in a week. (Remember that you're also using water when you use anything that required water for its production process.

    * When someone in your family does this, what's your share of the water used? To figure this out, divide the amount of water used by the number of people in your family.


    Average Amount of
    Water Used

    Getting a drink of water

    1/4 gallon

    Flushing the toilet

    5 gallons

    Showering (2-3 minutes, full force)

    20 gallons

    Bathing in a full tub)

    30 gallons

    Brushing teeth

    1/4 gallon

    Washing hands

    2 gallons

    Washing laundry in automatic washer, large load*

    49 gallons

    Washing dishes for one meal by hand*

    8 gallons

    Washing dishes in automatic dishwasher*

    12 gallons

  2. Think of ways you can cut down on the amount of water you use without cutting down on what you really need. (For example, the force of the water flow makes a big difference in how much water you use. How could you test this? )

  1. Where does YOUR city's fresh water come from? Where is your water cleaned? What is the condition of the river or reservoirs that supply your water? How does your water treatment plant work?
  2. Can you adopt a river or stream in your community? Find out where the water comes from where it flows to. Does it feed into a larger river or stream? See if you can find out where it reaches the ocean.

    To monitor conditions in this waterway and check for ways you can help protect it, talk to a local conservationist or a biologist. They can tell you about the kinds of aquatic life that live in or depend on the stream or river. Have any efforts been made to control flooding? Are there culverts that empty into it? Are they emptying rain run-off? Something else?

    Visit the stream or river and quietly observe. What do you see? Hear? Make a list of all the animals and plants you observe in and near the water. Which of them depend on the water for their survival? What do you appreciate most about this waterway?

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