Teaching our children to conserve water | Opinion

Child spirits are like sponges, they absorb everything. Hence, it is important to expose them to ideas and practices that will help them become healthy, intelligent, and caring adults. Of course, parents and teachers are their main influences, but the Public Service Commission can also play a role in the development of students in West Virginia.

From 2010 until the pandemic, the PSC regularly sent representatives to speak with third and fourth graders across the state about water conservation during the annual Fix a Leak Week, sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Over the years, our program has evolved into an interactive presentation on water conservation that reaches around 1,000 third and fourth graders each year. Students learn the value of clean drinking water and are then “deputized” to find leaks in their homes and communities. When the pandemic closed schools last spring, we had to cancel events in six different schools.

The PSC looks forward to returning to the state classrooms as soon as possible. In the meantime, I would like to share some information from our program.

By taking small steps every day, you can lower your water bill and save money. Turning off the water while brushing your teeth or shaving can save you up to 4 gallons. Even low flow shower heads use two gallons per minute. So in a four person home, if everyone cut their shower time by five minutes a day, that family would save 1,240 gallons of water in one month! Another simple conservation trick is to wait until you have a full load before using the washing machine or dishwasher.

The most important thing you can do is fix any water leaks. The average household can lose up to 10,000 gallons of water to leaks each year. And 10 percent of households have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more a day. It is a terrible waste of a valuable resource.

Look for leaks wherever water enters or leaks from your home. Be sure to check out hidden water sources like the water heater, ice maker, dishwasher, and washing machine. Remember what we teach students: leaks may be sneaky, but they can’t hide from me!

Charlotte Lane is the Commissioner for the State Public Service Commission.

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