A CIESE Collaborative Project

Wasted Water: Down the Drain


Previous Lesson Wasted Water:
Down the Drain

Did you know that fresh water, which we drink and use in our homes, constitutes less than 1% of the earth's water? The rest of the earth's water is salt water found in oceans and seas. If there is so little fresh water why hasn't it run out by now, especially when so much of it just goes down the drain? In this activity you will learn about the different ways that water is "wasted."

The Water Cycle

Learn how water is "recycled" in the environment by reviewing the water cycle. How do you think pollution might affect the water you obtain through the water cycle?

Wasted Water at Home

What are some of the ways water is wasted at home? How much do you think is wasted every day? Here are some ideas to get you started. Can you think of others?
Wasted Water Amount of Water Wasted
Leaky Faucet Put a bucket under the leaky faucet. Measure how much water was collected after one hour. How many gallons of water would be wasted each day? [You might also want to try this Drip Calculator.]
Taking a Bath vs. Taking a Shower Which one do you think uses more water for the average person? Tips for Measuring Water Usage may help you with this.
Flushing the Toilet Do you ever flush anything down the toilet that should have been thrown in the garbage instead? For example, some people may use tissues to blow their nose and then flush them down the toilet. How much water is wasted to do this? Tips for Measuring Water Usage may help you figure this out.
Washing Dishes with Water Running How much water is wasted by leaving the water running when washing the dishes (instead of using wash basins)? Tips for Measuring Water Usage may help you figure this out.
Brushing Teeth with Water Running How much water is wasted by leaving the water running when brushing your teeth (instead of turning it off)? Tips for Measuring Water Usage may help you figure this out.
Watering the Garden What can you do to reduce the amount of water lost by evaporation? Do you think the time of day that you water the garden makes a difference? Read more about evaporation and find out.
Using Electricity Electricity is a major user of fresh water. Water is used to cool the machinery used to produce electricity. Reducing your usage of electricity saves on water usage. Can you think of other industries that might use a lot of water?

The Big Question

If water is constantly recycled through the water cycle, why do we care about wasting it?