Wednesday, September 16, 2020

It's Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {World Water Monitoring Day}

 

Frannie will be back in two weeks with the last installment of the TAPS activities, but she didn't want to miss sharing World Water Monitoring Day with you!

World Water Monitoring Day is celebrated on September 18th and is different that World Water Day (which we celebrate on March 22). The first World Water Monitoring Day was in 2003 when America's Clean Water Foundation created a challenge to empower individuals to monitor their local water bodies. In 2015, the challenge was taken on by EarthEcho International. 

Now, with a simple test kit and an account on the EarthEcho Water Challenge app, you and your friends can join over 1.6 million people in 146 counties world wide in learning about and protecting our water sources.

Joining online or via the mobile app is easy and you can create an account with Google or Facebook. Once you have an account, you can start monitoring your local creeks, rivers, ponds, lakes, and more! The database allows you to add important water quality information, pictures of the site, and information about the citizen scientists (that's you!) who collected the data.

 

You can collect data all year long, as long as you can access the liquid water in your area. Just remember to follow the water safety rules, which you can find on The Groundwater Foundation's website.

Be safe and Happy World Water Monitoring Day!





Wednesday, September 2, 2020

It's Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {TAPS Manual Part 5: Improperly Operated Landfills}

Frannie's friends at the Groundwater Foundation recently published the second edition of the Training About Protecting the Source (TAPS) Manual. The manual guides users through hands-on activities that explore potential threats to groundwater and challenges them to think about what can be done to protect this key drinking water source.


This manual can be used inside the classroom and is aligned to the national Next Generation Science Standards, but Frannie loves just learning about groundwater, no matter where she is. For the next few weeks, you can join her as she works through the different activities. 

Frannie will be using the Groundwater Foundation's Awesome Aquifer Kit, but if you don't have one, you can follow along with materials that might be found around your home. This is the second part of Frannie's exploration of the TAPS Manual. You can follow the link to see what she learned about sinkholesleaky underground storage tanksimproperly abandoned wells and the over-application of fertilizer.

Today's activity is....Improperly Operated Landfills.
---

A municipal solid waste landfill (MSWLF) is an area of land that typically receives household waste and sometimes can receive other types of nonhazardous waste, such as commercial solid waste, nonhazardous sludge, and industrial nonhazardous solid waste. According to the EPA, there are approximately 2,000 MSWLFs in the U.S. that are managed by the states in which they are located. When rain, snow, or runoff water soaks into and through a landfill, it can dissolve some of the landfill’s contents and, in an improperly constructed or operated landfill, carry it on down to the groundwater. This mixture of recharge and particles from the landfill’s contents is called leachate. As the amount of waste increases, the potential for leachate to enter the groundwater increases.

For this activity, you will need:
  • Awesome Aquifer Kit
    • Plastic box
    • Gravel
    • Plastic tube
    • Hand pump or syringe
    • Nylon
    • Rubber band
  • 2 inch square piece of dyed paper towel (prepped in advance)
    • Dip a paper towel in/or spray with slightly diluted food coloring (2 drops of dye per ounce of water)
    • Allow to dry completely.
  • 16 oz cup of water

Activity Steps 
1. Read through all the instructions first before you begin to build the model. Make sure you have all the needed materials and supplies.
 
2. Fill the plastic box with gravel until it is about ¼ full.
 
3. Add water so that half of the rocks are covered. (This will represent an aquifer.)
 
4. Create a well by covering the end of the plastic tube with nylon, securing it with a rubber band.

 5. Insert the well, with the well screen on the bottom, near one corner of the plastic box. Push the well down so that it reaches the bottom of the model.
 
6. Take the colored piece of paper towel, scrunch it up, and bury it on the opposite side of the model from the well location and near the outside of the box. (This is your landfill.)  
 
7. Pour or spray water on the surface of the gravel to simulate rain. Observe what happens to the landfill and groundwater after the rain.

8.  Pump the well by inserting the tip of the syringe into the well (plastic tube) or attaching and pumping the hand pump.


Once it got wet, the stained paper towel began to leach some red into the surrounding groundwater. Frannie also noticed that the water she pumped out of the other end of the model was colored a light pink. Leachate from improperly managed landfills can flow in underground plumes, eventually contaminating nearby wells, but this can be prevented. Landfills that are properly operated have safety measures in place to mitigate the chances that dangerous chemicals will enter into the ground. Proper recycling of hazardous waste, such as pharmaceuticals, paint, oil, cleaners, electronics, batteries, and more can keep contaminants from getting into the system in the first place.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

It's Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {TAPS Manual Part 4: Sinkholes}

Frannie's friends at the Groundwater Foundation recently published the second edition of the Training About Protecting the Source (TAPS) Manual. The manual guides users through hands-on activities that explore potential threats to groundwater and challenges them to think about what can be done to protect this key drinking water source.


This manual can be used inside the classroom and is aligned to the national Next Generation Science Standards, but Frannie loves just learning about groundwater, no matter where she is. For the next few weeks, you can join her as she works through the different activities. 

Frannie will be using the Groundwater Foundation's Awesome Aquifer Kit, but if you don't have one, you can follow along with materials that might be found around your home. This is the second part of Frannie's exploration of the TAPS Manual. You can follow the link to see what she learned about leaky underground storage tanksimproperly abandoned wells and the over-application of fertilizer.

Today's activity is....Sinkholes.
---

A sinkhole is a depression that is formed as underlying limestone or a similarly soft rock is dissolved by groundwater. Typically, sinkholes form slowly so that the top layer of land stays intact for a while after the rock below dissolves. Sinkholes vary greatly in area and depth and can be small and shallow or they may be very large. Sinkholes form a direct path to groundwater through which contaminants can easily enter.


For this activity, you will need:
  • Awesome Aquifer Kit, OR
    • Plastic box
    • Gravel
  • Sugar cubes (at least 12 cubes)
  • 16 oz cup of water slightly above room temperature
  • Small plastic toy or house (optional)
Activity Steps

1. Read through all the instructions first before you begin to build the model. Make sure you have all the needed materials and supplies.
 
2. Fill the plastic box with gravel until it is about ¼ full.
 
3. Add water so that half of the rocks are covered. (This will represent an aquifer.)
 
4. Place sugar cubes on the gravel, next to one side of the plastic box. The sugar cubes should be at least three cubes across, two cubes wide, and two layers deep. The sugar cubes simulate layers of limestone.

 5. Add more gravel on top to cover the sugar cubes completely. You can either create a hill over the sugar cubes or continue to add gravel so that surface of the model is level.
 
6. If you have a small plastic toy animal or house, place it on top of the gravel directly above the sugar cubes.

  

7. Pour or spray water (preferably warm water) over the buried sugar cubes to simulate rain. Watch and wait.
Frannie noticed that the warm water slowly dissolved the sugar cubes beneath the gravel. The surface of the gravel remained level for a little bit, but eventually it collapsed into the vacuum that was left by the sugar. Like sugar cubes, soluble geologic materials can dissolve over time due to natural causes or human impacts such as over-pumping and over development. Once a sinkhole appears, it can become a direct line for contaminants to enter the water below.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

It's Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {TAPS Manual Part 3: Leaky Underground Storage Tanks}

Frannie's friends at the Groundwater Foundation recently published the second edition of the Training About Protecting the Source (TAPS) Manual. The manual guides users through hands-on activities that explore potential threats to groundwater and challenges them to think about what can be done to protect this key drinking water source.

This manual can be used inside the classroom and is aligned to the national Next Generation Science Standards, but Frannie loves just learning about groundwater, no matter where she is. For the next few weeks, you can join her as she works through the different activities. 

Frannie will be using the Groundwater Foundation's Awesome Aquifer Kit, but if you don't have one, you can follow along with materials that might be found around your home. This is the second part of Frannie's exploration of the TAPS Manual. You can follow the link to see what she learned about improperly abandoned wells and the over-application of fertilizer.

Today's activity is....Leaky Underground Storage Tanks.
---

An underground storage tank system (UST) is a tank and any underground piping connected to the tank that has at least 10 percent of its combined volume underground. Underground storage tanks can contain fuels, chemicals, and wastes. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency there are over 550,000 underground storage tanks that store fuels or other hazardous substances. These tanks may leak and when they do, they can contaminate surrounding soil, groundwater, surface waters, and even affect indoor air quality.


For this activity, you will need:
  • Awesome Aquifer Kit, OR
    • Plastic box
    • Gravel
    • Plastic tube
    • Hand pump or Syringe
    • Nylon
    • Rubber band
    • Food dye
  • Small plastic container with lid (ex. a film cannister, sprinkles or spice container, etc.)
  • 16 oz cup of water
Activity Steps

1. Read through all the instructions first before you begin to build the model. Make sure you have all the needed materials and supplies.
 
2. Fill the plastic box with gravel until it is about ¼ full.
 
3. Add water so that half of the rocks are covered. (This will represent an aquifer.)
 
4. Create a well by covering the end of the plastic tube with nylon, securing it with a rubber band.
 
5. Insert the well, with the well screen on the bottom, near one corner of the plastic box. Push the well down so that it reaches the bottom of the model.
 
6. Add more gravel until the box is about ½-¾ full. The surface of the gravel should be fairly level across the box.
 
7. Dye about 1.5 oz of water with three or four drops of food coloring and use it to fill the plastic container. Seal the container when full.
   
8.Using a tack, carefully poke holes in one end of the film canister or container.
 
9. Dig a small hole in the gravel on the opposite side of the model from the well. Place the canister/container inside the hole. The end of the container with the holes poked in it should be facing down. Cover the container, either partially or entirely, as long as at least 10% of it is underground.
 
10. Pour water on the surface of the gravel to simulate rain. Observe what happens to the colored water inside the storage tank after it rained. 
 
11. Pump the well by inserting the tip of the syringe into the well (plastic tube) or attaching and pumping the hand pump.




Frannie observed that once the water "rained" over her aquifer, the red water, which was contained in the storage unit, leaked out into the aquifer below. As it rained more and more, even more leachate entered the aquifer. Very quickly, the whole aquifer becomes contaminated  and when Frannie tried to pump water up from the aquifer, it was pink from the contaminant. 

Storage tanks are a common and useful way of storing and disposing of toxic waste, but they must be monitored carefully to prevent contamination of our drinking water sources, crops, and livestock.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

It's Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {TAPS Manual Part 2: Over-Application of Fertilizer}

Frannie's friends at the Groundwater Foundation recently published the second edition of the Training About Protecting the Source (TAPS) Manual. The manual guides users through hands-on activities that explore potential threats to groundwater and challenges them to think about what can be done to protect this key drinking water source.

This manual can be used inside the classroom and is aligned to the national Next Generation Science Standards, but Frannie loves just learning about groundwater, no matter where she is. For the next few weeks, you can join her as she works through the different activities. 

Frannie will be using the Groundwater Foundation's Awesome Aquifer Kit, but if you don't have one, you can follow along with materials that might be found around your home. This is the second part of Frannie's exploration of the TAPS Manual. You can follow the link to see what she learned about improperly abandoned wells.

Today's activity is....Over-Application of Fertilizer.
---

Fertilizers promote plant growth and green lawns by helping plants meet their nutrient needs, primarily for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Plants, however, are limited in the amount they can absorb and use. Fertilizers applied in excess can soak down into the groundwater or run off into surface water bodies. This pollution of surface and groundwater can impact our drinking water supplies.


For this activity, you will need:
  • Awesome Aquifer Kit, OR
    • Plastic box
    • Gravel
    • Plastic tube
    • Hand pump or Syringe
    • Nylon
    • Rubber band
  • 1 packet or 1 tablespoon of colored powdered drink mix (ex. Kool-Aid, Gatorade, etc)
  • 16 oz cup of water
Activity Steps


1. Read through all the instructions first before you begin to build the model. Make sure you have all the needed materials and supplies.
 
2. Fill the plastic box with gravel until it is about ¼ full.
 
3. Add water so that half of the rocks are covered. (This will represent an aquifer.)
 
4. Create a well by covering the end of the plastic tube with nylon, securing it with a rubber band.
 
5. Insert the well, with the well screen on the bottom, near one corner of the plastic box. Push the well down so that it reaches the bottom of the model.
 
6. Add more gravel until the box is about ½-¾ full. The surface of the gravel should be fairly level across the box.
 
7. Sprinkle ½ a packet, about 1 tablespoon, of powdered drink mix (i.e. Kool-Aid) 
on the surface of the gravel to simulate fertilizer.
 
   
8. Pour water on the surface of the gravel to simulate rain.
 
9. Make observations
 
10. Pump the well by inserting the tip of the syringe into the well (plastic tube) or attaching and pumping the hand pump.
 
11. Observe what happens to the fertilizer and water when the well is pumped.



Frannie observed that once the water "rained" over her aquifer, the colored drink mix, which represents fertilizer, quickly mixed with the recharge and infiltrated into the groundwater below. Very quickly, the whole aquifer was contaminated with the red drink mix. When she tried to pump groundwater out, Frannie wasn't able to get any clean water. 

Frannie knows that fertilizers help plants grow healthy and strong, but there are ways and times to apply them responsibly so that plants can absorb all of the nutrients they need without any extra leaching in the groundwater below.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

It's Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {TAPS Manual Part 1: Improperly Abandoned Wells}

Frannie's friends at the Groundwater Foundation recently published the second edition of the Training About Protecting the Source (TAPS) Manual. The manual guides users through hands-on activities that explore potential threats to groundwater and challenges them to think about what can be done to protect this key drinking water source.

This manual can be used inside the classroom and is aligned to the national Next Generation Science Standards, but Frannie loves just learning about groundwater, no matter where she is. For the next few weeks, you can join her as she works through the different activities. 

Frannie will be using the Groundwater Foundation's Awesome Aquifer Kit, but if you don't have one, you can follow along with materials that might be found around your home.

Today's activity is....Improperly Abandoned Wells.
---

It's not uncommon to find old wells which are either out or service or no longer usable. These are called abandoned wells. Abandoned or forgotten wells can pose risks to the physical safety of people, livestock, or equipment. They can also become a direct channel for pollutants, such as fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals, to flow directly into groundwater. It is required that these wells be sealed, or decommissioned according to state guidelines, but what happens if they are not?

For this activity, you will need:
  • Awesome Aquifer Kit, OR
    • Plastic box
    • Gravel
    • Plastic tube
    • Clay
    • Nylon
    • Rubber band
    • Food coloring
  • Aluminum Foil (heavy duty recommended)
  • Pencil, Pen, or Marker
  • 16 oz cup of water

Activity Steps

1. Read through all the instructions first before you begin to build the model. Make sure you have all the needed materials and supplies.

2. Prepare your materials by filling the plastic box with gravel until it is about ¼-½ full and, if you choose, lightly dyeing the cup of water blue.

3. Add 1/5-1/4 of the water to the box. Do not fill water to the top of the gravel. (This will represent an aquifer.)

4. Create an impermeable, or confining, layer using the foil. This should be approximately the length and width as the inside of container. You can use the lid of the Awesome Aquifer kit as a pattern. Use heavy duty foil or make a double layer of foil.

5. Once you have a piece of foil that fits inside the container, make a mark on the foil about two inches towards the center from one of the short sides of the box. Place the foil on top of the gravel being careful not to puncture the foil.
 
6. Roll the clay into a long, skinny roll and use it to seal the edges of the foil to the box. You have now created a confined aquifer.

7. Model a well with the plastic tubing by covering one end of the  tube with the nylon, securing it with a rubber band.
 
8. Insert the well (well screen/nylon end first) at the spot marked earlier on the foil. You 
can use a pencil or pen to puncture the foil in order to get your well inserted.
 
9. Add more gravel on top of the foil and around the well until the container is about ½-¾ full.

10. Apply colored water to the gravel surface evenly. Make sure to pour the same amount all over the surface and the well.

11. Observe where the colored water travels.


Frannie noticed that, even though she had formed a water tight seal around the boundary of the aquifer, when she poured "polluted" dyed water over the gravel it would flow through the hole in the foil that was made by the well.

Frannie imagined that she was living on top of that aquifer, a short drive away from the abandoned well. She imagined that she depended on the aquifer to supply water for her daily needs and the needs of her friends and family. If the pink-purple water actually carried harsh chemicals like those often found in household cleaners, herbicides, and pesticides, she could have gotten really sick once the plume arrived at a well on her property.

Now Frannie needs your help: how can we solve this problem? How can we prevent the pink purple water from entering the aquifer? How can we get the pink-purple water out once it gets in? Do you know?

Send in your answers on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and we'll share those ideas next week!

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

It's Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {Activities Library}

Frannie is always looking for new fun things to do in the summer. Luckily, the Groundwater Foundation has the Activities Library, a searchable database that features over 70 activities for any kind of setting. From wet-and-wild outdoor games to crosswords and coloring sheets, you can fill your long summer days with fun groundwater education!

You can search for activities by:
  • Age
  • Duration
  • Key topic (i.e. - irrigation, water quality, climate/weather, etc.)
  • Category (i.e.-outdoor, messy, arts and crafts, etc.)


You can also search for activities directly by name, such as "Growing with Groundwater." Results display an image of the activity, the activity name, a description and a link to a how-to video (if available), and a link to additional details and to download the instructions.




Check out this awesome tool and let us know what you think on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

It's Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {#throwback: Top 5 Reasons to Use a Reusable Water Bottle}

It's getting hot, hot, HOT outside, so it's time to bring back one of Frannie's favorite blog topics.
 
Reusable water bottles are better for the environment, our health, and our wallets than purchasing bottled water! There are even high-tech water bottles that can connect to your phone, sending you reminders when to drink and rewarding your healthy habits with fun badges and games.

Without further ado, here are Frannie's top 5 reasons to use a reusable water bottle.

1. It's healthier to use bottles that are free from chemicals like bisphenol A, often referred to as BPA. BPA is an industrial chemical that can have possible negative health effects on your brain.  Plastics marked with recycle codes 3 and 7 may be made with BPA. Almost all reusable water bottles are BPA-free.

2. Getting water from the tap is cheaper than buying bottled water.  Bottled water can cost up to 500 times more than tap water!

3. It saves water! Making new plastic bottles takes a LOT of water.  In fact, it takes more water to produce one plastic bottle than the water put into the bottle for drinking!

4. It's better for the environment.  Using reusable water bottles is better for the environment because it reduces your carbon footprint.  Producing new, disposable water bottles uses many fossil fuels and releases toxins into the air during production, not to mention the diesel used to transport cases of bottles to a store near you.

5. They're EASY and FUN to use! Smart water bottles are water bottles that can connect to your phone via Bluetooth. There are many brands to choose from that do things like keep track of the exact amount of water you've had, connect to a fitness watch, and even play music through an attached speaker! 

Frannie also wants to share a couple of life hacks for turning tap water into "Oh, snap!" water. 

Prepare your water bottle the night before by filling it 1/4 to 1/3 of the way full and then leave it in the freezer overnight. The ice will help keep your water cool longer and you won't waste time or water running the tap, waiting for it to get cold.

She also likes to add fruits or veggies to her water for that extra special something. One of Frannie’s favorite summer drinks is cold water with a pinch of salt and a hefty squeeze of lemon juice.  It’s a healthy, refreshing drink that tastes great and will naturally replenish your electrolytes!

Where do you take your water bottle? Share with us by email or by tagging us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

It's Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {Safety First!}

Summer is almost here! Parks, pools, lakes, and beaches are starting to open up again as lockdown restrictions ease and Frannie can't wait to get out there and play in them.
It's important to remember how to be safe around open waters so that we can have good, safe fun all summer long. With these few tips, you can join Frannie and her friends in the water!

  1. Use the buddy system. Stay near your buddy and be sure to let someone know if you or your buddy is lost or needs help. 
  2. In the same track as using the buddy system, make sure you stick together and stay close to the beach or shore where family, friends, or other adults can help you if you need it.
  3. Never drink the water from a stream, lake, river, or other water body you are playing in or investigating.  Even if it looks clean, it might not be healthy to drink.
  4. When playing on the banks of rivers, streams, ponds, and lakes, make sure the ground is sturdy and won’t give way. Look for signs of erosion that might indicate loose ground.
  5. Pay attention to your surroundings. Is the ground or the bottom of the lake or river rocky?  Is the current strong?  Is the water level high or low?  What is the forecast supposed to be today?  Are there any fast moving boats nearby? These are very important questions that only take a few minutes to think about but can make all the difference.
  6. There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. Wear socks, long sleeves, and pants for hiking out to your favorite river or lake spot. Hats can protect you from the sun and bugs. Closed toed shoes can prevent rocks from cutting your feet. Flip flops are okay for the pool, but leave them at home for outdoor adventures.
  7. Know which plants are poisonous. Poison ivy, poison oak, and stinging nettles can all make you feel uncomfortable or make you really sick. Poison sumac and hemlock are not as common, but can also be a threat.
  8. Certain insects, such as ticks, mosquitoes, flies, bees, and hornets, can also ruin your nature experience.  Dress properly and wear insect repellent.
  9. Respect the environment. Remember that you are a guest. Take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints.
Have fun and stay safe!

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

It's Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {Upcycled Conservation Flowers}

Hooray! It's finally May! That means we've finally reached the time of year where the flowers, bushes, and trees are coming to life in beautiful and vibrant colors. This year, try planting some Upcycled Conservation Flowers to remind you of all the ways you can conserve water.
But wait a minute, Frannie: what in the world are Upcycled Conservation Flowers?
Upcycling is a fun trend that helps protect the environment by reusing items that may have previously been thrown away. Reusing an item keeps it from ending up in a landfill where it may take millions of years to decompose. Upcycled Conservation Flowers are made out of plastic water bottles and each petal represents an easy way to help conserve and protect groundwater! 
Find out how to make them below!
Students showing off their Upcycled Conservation Flowers!

Materials:

  • Empty plastic water bottle
  • 8 different colored acrylic paints
  • Paint brush
  • Hole punch
  • String
  • Wood stick (optional)
  • Glue
  • Sequins, beads, paper, glitter, or gems


Instructions:

  1. Clean your plastic water bottle. Remove any plastic labeling from the outside.
  2. Cut your water bottle in half. Recycle the bottom half of your bottle.
  3. Cut eight petals by cutting from the middle of the bottle towards the cap. Make sure to cut all the way to the edge of the cap. Round the edges.
  4. Press the petals out and flatten them to make your bottle look like a flower.
  5. Paint each petal a different color to represent the different ways to protect and conserve groundwater. Add glitter for fun!
  6. Cover the cap with beads, gems, sequins, paper, or paint to represent the pistil/stamen.
  7. Use a paper hole punch and string to make your flower an ornament or use a wooden stick and glue to create a decorative flower for potted plants.


Ways to Protect and Conserve Groundwater:

Go Native
Use native plants in your landscape. They look great, and don't need much water or fertilizer.
Reduce Chemical Use
Use fewer chemicals around your home and yard, and make sure to dispose of them properly - don't dump them on the ground!
Don't Let It Run
Shut off the water when brushing your teeth, and don't let it run while waiting for it to get cold. Keep a pitcher of cold water in the fridge instead!
Fix the Drips
Check all the faucets, fixtures, toilets, and taps for leaks and fix them right away.
Shower Smarter
Limit yourself to just a five minute shower, and challenge your family members to do the same!
Water Wisely
Water plants during the coolest parts of the day and only when they truly need it. Make sure you, your family and neighbors obey any watering restrictions.
Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
Reduce the amount of "stuff" you use and reuse what you can. Recycle paper, plastic, cardboard, glass, aluminum, and other materials.
Learn More!
Get involved in water education! Learn more about groundwater by checking out The Groundwater Foundation's website www.groundwater.org/get-informed/.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

It's Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {Make Your Own Rain Gauge!}

April showers bring May flowers and it's certainly been sprinkling around Frannie's pond! Rain gauges are an excellent way to measure how much precipitation your outdoor plants are receiving and help save you money so you only water your lawn and garden when needed.

Here's how you can make your own. To start, you'll need:
  • A plastic bottle with a flat bottom
  • Scissors 
  • A ruler
  • A permanent marker
  • Stickers (optional)

Here's what you do:
1. Begin by removing all the labeling and cleaning the plastic bottle.



2. Take the scissors and the cut off approximately the top third of the bottle.


3. Flip the top third of the bottle upside down and insert it into the plastic bottle.


4. Using the ruler, mark 1/4", 1/2", and 1" increments starting from the bottom of the plastic bottle. For more fun, use stickers and markers to decorate your rain gauge.


5. Place your rain gauge outside. You can use twine to tie it to a post, bury it, or use another method to ensure it stays upright.



6. Check your rain gauge after a storm to see how much rain has fallen.

Take a picture of your rain gauge and share it with Frannie at hydro@groundwater.org!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

It's Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {At Home Learning: You Be The Judge}

Water is an essential part of our everyday life. Water resource managers, city utility personnel, water well professionals, and more go to work every day to make sure we all maintain access to our clean water, even in uncertain circumstances.

Sometimes they are faced with hard decisions: Should water use be restricted? Should a certain amount of water be allocated to certain people or to everyone? In the following activity, you will be provided scenarios and you get to decide who should get the water. You be the judge!

Here's what you need:
  • Pitcher filled with water
  • Cups for each participant
  • Water use cards - you can copy or print the cards found in the activity instructions or make posters representing different water uses
  • Scissors 
  • Poster board (optional)
  • Markers (optional)  

Here's what you do:  
1. Fill a pitcher with water. Make sure there is a limited amount of water so that not all cups can be filled.

2. Give each participant a cup.

3. Pass around the pitcher so each participant can fill their cup. A full cup represents enough water for the participants to meet their water needs.


4. Sometimes there is not enough water available for everyone's needs - in times of drought for example. Ask the participants to express how they feel.

5. Ask what they could do to make sure they all get water.

6. Repeat steps 1-5, this time with water allocations. Choose one or combine both of the following options:
  • First in time, first in right. Have the participants arrange themselves in order by their birth date.   
  • Use the water use cards found in the activity instructions to determine how the water is distributed. Randomly pass out the cards. Participants can use the information on the cards to discuss and campaign for more water or why others should get more and some should get less.



7. Discuss the resultsother ways the water could be allocated, and what the participants learned about water use
  • Those with more important uses get more. Who decides what's more important?
  • Equal shares: everyone gets some, but some will get less than what they need.
  • Apply water restrictions and use water conservation practices to reduce the amount needed/used.
Share what you learned with the Groundwater Foundation!