Arlington Water Helps Students Learn Water Efficiency

Articles Water Waterwise 02 15 17

More than 200 Arlington ISD fifth graders are getting lessons in ways to be water efficient this winter, along with the tools to make a difference in their homes.

The WaterWise program is an annual partnership between Arlington Water Utilities and Tarrant Regional Water District that distributes classroom materials aligned with the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, or TAKS, and principles of water conservation. It also gives students take-home activities, like a free water-efficient showerhead and faucet aerator to install with their parents.

Bryan Hernandez, a fifth grader at Arlington’s Rankin Elementary, is one of the students learning the curriculum. His teacher’s emphasis on water as a resource with limits has already made an impression.

“If we waste a lot of water, we are not going to have water,” said Bryan. He and his classmates recently helped teacher Sonia Perez list ways they could conserve water at home, from shutting off faucets while they’re brushing their teeth to not washing the family car as often. She reminded them that saving hot water also means saving money on the electricity used to heat it.

Providing the program is part of the City of Arlington’s 2014 Water Conservation Plan, a document compiled every five years for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. During the 2015-2016 school year, the WaterWise program reached 737 fifth-grade students through the City of Arlington’s funding partnership with TRWD. Already this school year, 220 students are signed up for the program at Rankin Elementary and Williams Elementary.

After the WaterWise program, students and teachers are surveyed. Information is gathered about what they learned and whether they used the hardware and tools in their homes. In 2015-2016, for example, a group of 224 AISD students in the WaterWise program gained 22 percentage points between pre- and post-lesson assessments of water conservation knowledge. About 78 percent of those students reported using a WaterWise shower timer to monitor home use.

“It’s really helpful, especially when it involves the parents,” Perez said. “Because they get to do it together, they’re all excited.”