Fifth Graders Get Water Wise!
San Jose Water (SJW) is committed to increasing water conservation awareness not only among adults, but youth as well. Since 2015, SJW has carried out a school-based water education effort known as the WaterWise™ Program. This program is designed to bring hands-on conservation lessons into the classroom and home.
The WaterWise Program is taught in 5th grade classrooms throughout the SJW service area through the Franklin Energy program. Once the program team identifies and enrolls teachers and students within our service area, teachers are provided with a Teacher Book and Student Workbooks so that they can lead lessons on the foundations of efficient water use. Each lesson is followed by hands-on and creative activities meant to apply the knowledge the students have gained. Because the program’s materials follow state and national academic standards, teachers can easily fit the program into their curriculum. The program is free to teachers so it's a win-win for our schools!
To supplement the classroom experience, students are also each given a WaterWise Kit. This take-home portion of the program contains devices that students, with the
help of their parents/guardians, can install within their homes to improve their own daily water efficiency. Student take-home assignments include installing one high-efficiency showerhead and two faucet aerators, checking at least one toilet for leaks, and collecting household water audit information. Installing and monitoring new water efficiency devices allows students to put their learning into practice. The benefits of these assignments span at least two generations, as both students and their families experience the home water savings firsthand.
With information gathered by the students, the program team calculates the program’s water savings per student. Based on 2,433 participants from the Fall 2018 program, RAP estimated a total annual water savings of 7,224 gallons per household and a total lifetime savings of 40,211 gallons per household!
Teacher responses, student letters, and parent feedback all affirm WaterWise’s success and popularity. In a thank you letter from Capri Elementary school teacher Jennifer Brackett, she said that:
“My students were excited from the first day. This program is very relevant to their lives, and I appreciate how you made the program personal to them by providing the Water Wise Kits. I wish I had been able to take a picture of their faces when they realized they were each getting their own personal kit for their home...I hope I will be able to participate again during the next school year.”
SJW is pleased to contribute to youth education and water conservation among all that we serve, and we hope to promote water wisdom for many school years to come!