How to teach children the importance of saving water

One third of the world population has no access to drinking water and, based on UN data, it is estimated that by 2050 approximately 5.7 billion people will live in areas with water shortages for at least one month a year.

Environmental degradation, climate change and rapid urbanisation are a few of the challenges for water security.

Although the data collected are not positive, the United Nations World Water Development Report (WWDR) considers that targets can still be met, as long as we all work together.

We share today some guidance to help children learn the importance of responsible use of this precious resource.

Turn taps off when water is not really needed

A tap left on for one minute means wastes around 12 litres of water. 

To show children how important it is to turn the tap off while they are washing their hands, we could collect all the water that is wasted during that time and fill a recipient so that they can see how much is wasted every time they leave the tap on. Remember to put the water from the experiment to good use!

It is important for them to realise that the same applies when they clean their teeth or have a shower, so that they remember to turn the tap off when the water is not really needed.

Using a glass to rinse your mouth after brushing your teeth is another way to use water more responsibly.

If we want children to learn these habits, it is important for other members of the family to practise what they preach. So remember to always turn the tap off when cleaning your teeth, washing your hands or washing up, turning it on again only when the water is really needed.

Showers better than baths

When they are babies baths are the only option and as they grow up, baths can fun and relaxing, while getting them ready for the end of the day. But baths use a lot more water than showers. Whenever this is possible, taking account of their age, get them to take showers, which are also faster and easier.

If baths are preferred even so, it is recommendable to use bath dividers -to section off a smaller space and thus reduce water consumption- or, if appropriate, bath two or more siblings at the same time.

Flush toilets properly

Most cisterns offer the option of a short flush or a long flush. By using the short flush whenever possible you can save around 10 litres of water.

Children must also learn not to throw rubbish down the toilet. When wet wipes, cotton buds and cotton discs are flushed down the toilet, they can cause considerable environmental damage as well as extra water consumption.

Reuse water

Many litres of water can go down the drain when running the tap until hot water comes out. A good solution is to collect that water in a recipient and use it for other everyday purposes.

For example, that water can be used to wash fruit and vegetables, and afterwards, it can be used again to water the plants.

Fill household appliances before using

Over the years, children take on household chores. When the time comes, it is essential for them to understand the importance of making sure the washing machine and dishwasher are full to make the most of the water used.

Some of these appliances have ecological or half-load programmes for when it is not possible to fill them.