Posts Tagged ‘Education’

April 23, 2012

How Much Water Are You Really Using?

We need water, but how much water does it take to do all of the things we need to do every day?

We use 98% of the water that comes to our houses for cleaning, so only 2% is used for drinking. The average American uses 100-150 gallons of water each day. That includes:

  • 30 gallons to take a 5-minute shower – yes, that means 60 gallons for a 10-minute shower every day!
  • 2 gallons each time we brush our teeth – Water is wasted by not turning off the water while brushing (if you turn it off you will use less than half a gallon).
  • 30 gallons to fill the bathtub a little over halfway.
  • 15 gallons to wash a load of dishes in the dishwasher – Make sure it is full before you run it!
  • 20 gallons to wash dishes by hand – Water is wasted by leaving the rinse water running the whole time; turn the rinse water off and you will use less than 10 gallons.
  • 50 gallons to wash a full load of clothes – don’t forget to reset the water level for smaller loads.
  • 5 gallons each time you flush. If you have a low-flow toilet, then it uses about 2 gallons.

Other water usage facts:

  • In the average household, faucets are turned on 70 times per day!
  • If you leave the water running while washing your car, you can easily waste over 100 gallons of water.
  • Approximately eight gallons of water is wasted per day if you have a leaky faucet – so get them fixed; they usually just need a new O-ring.
Posted by: Gail Peckumn No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Conservation, Education December 21, 2011

Water 101: How Much Do You Know About H2O?

Take this quiz to find out how much you know about H2O!

1.  What percent of the earth’s surface is water?
a. about 50%  
b. about 75%  
c. about 97%
2.  Of all the water on earth, how much is available to use for drinking water?
a. 25%             
b. 3%              
c. 1%

3.  About how much does one gallon of water weigh? 
a. 4 lbs.  
b. 8 lbs.   
c. 10 lbs.

4.  What two rivers does Des Moines Water Works use to make drinking water?
a. Des Moines and Skunk 
b. Raccoon and Iowa 
c. Des Moines and Raccoon

5.  What is the longest a human could live without water?
a. one day  
b. one week  
c. one month

6.  About how much of the human body is water?
a. 95%   
b. 80%   
c. 65%

7.  What uses the most water in households each day?
a. laundry  
b. showers  
c. flushing the toilet

8.  What percent of water in homes is used for drinking purposes?
a. 2%   
b. 10%   
c. 20% 

9.  What is the longest river in the world?
a. Mississippi
b. Amazon  
c. Nile

10.  How thick does ice have to be to hold an average-sized human?
a. 2”   
b. 4”   
c. 6”

11.  About how many gallons of water will run down the drain if you leave a faucet on for one minute?
a. 5   
b. 3   
c. 8 

12.  How many gallons of water does the average American use for a five-minute shower? 
a. 20   
b. 30   
c. 40

13.   How much water does it take to make a can of pop? 
a. 1 gallon  
b. 5 gallons  
c. 10 gallons  

14.   What makes hard water “hard?”
a.  Low temperatures 
b. minerals 
c. heat and pressure 

15.  The gradual wearing away of soil by water is called __________.
a. combustion  
b. precipitation  
c. erosion

1. b
2. c
3. b
4. c
5. b
6. c
7. c
8. a
9. c
10. b
11. a
12. b
13. c
14. b
15. c

Posted by: Gail Peckumn No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Conservation, Education September 9, 2011

Love Where You Live!

Love Where You Live” is the theme for this year’s environmental education programs offered through Des Moines Water Works and the Urban Environmental Partnership (UEP). 

Did you know the UEP offers 16 FREE presentations on topics like drinking water treatment, waste water treatment, the water cycle, understanding watersheds, water’s link to health, recycling and waste reduction, and water pollution and prevention?  All metro area elementary and middle school science teachers receive a brochure at the beginning of the school year that describes these programs. Most of the programs are geared for K-12, but the UEP also gives adult programs on the same environmental topics and schedule tours of Des Moines Water Works, Metro Waste Authority’s Metro Park East Landfill and the Waste Water Reclamation Facility.

To schedule a presentation or tour, contact Gail Peckumn at [email protected]. For more contact information and descriptions of the presentations, check out the program brochure at – click on Water Education.

When we all learn to take care of the world around us, we will all Love Where We Live!

Posted by: Gail Peckumn No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in Education, Environment May 24, 2011

First Graders Dedicate Book to DMWW

A first grade class from Ankeny recently dedicated a book, The “Fishy” Problem, to Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) with this inscription: “Thank you for keeping our water clean and healthy!”

Written and illustrated by Mrs. Reha’s students at East Elementary School, the story begins with “Once upon a time, there were very healthy animals in a nice clean river.”  As the story unfolds, some of the fish get sick from trash and pollutants in the river, so they swim to the surface and pretend to be dead, in the hopes that someone will notice and take corrective action.  “A Water Works person was testing water from the river when he saw the fish floating. He wondered how the fish died.”  The problem was investigated and the story concludes after the pollution and trash has been removed, and the animals once again happily enjoy the clean river, their home.

Bobbi Young, a Customer Service employee and member of DMWW’s Education and Green Teams, attended the first graders’ book dedication ceremony on May 20, 2011, and accepted a copy of the book, which was autographed by the students.

For many years DMWW has focused on educating children, its future consumers.  Eleven years ago the water utility joined with Metro Waste Authority, City of Des Moines Storm Water Utility, and Wastewater Reclamation Authority to form the Urban Environmental Partnership.  The partnership is committed to educating the public and employees about water treatment, watershedprotection, and pollution prevention in the urban environment.  Sixteen environmental education programs are offered for pre-K through 8th grade students.

For more information about water education, check our website,, and click on “Water Education” or contact our Education Specialist at (515) 283-8753 or [email protected]

Posted by: Pat Ripley 1 Comment
Labels: , , Posted in Education, Uncategorized May 23, 2011

15th Annual Iowa Children’s Water Festival

The Iowa Children’s Water Festival is held annually to increase the awareness that everything we do in our daily lives will in some way impact our environment, with a main focus on Iowa’s water resources. Approximately 2,100 fifth-grade students attended the 15th annual Festival on May 12, at Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC), traveling from as far away as Council Bluffs, Davenport, and Muscatine.

The Water Festival is purposely designed to teach basic science from a fun, interactive perspective, so the students will want to learn and integrate what they see and hear throughout the day into their daily lives.

Fifth grade students are able to understand water concepts while they are still young enough to form their own value system.  Students are scheduled into three classroom presentations, a large game activity, a stage performance, and an exhibit hall. In all they spend approximately 4-5 hours at the Festival. There is also a poetry contest prior to the Festival that allows classes to compete for prizes by writing and submitting a poem around the festival theme.

The Festival would not be possible without contributions from many organizations.  The Iowa Association of Water Agencies (IAWA) has oversight responsibility for the festival. However, the Festival is coordinated by a steering committee with members representing IAWA, Des Moines Water Works, DMACC, Iowa Rural Water Association, Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities, IA Section-American Water Works Association, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and the US Department of Agriculture. In addition, each year there are approximately 40 classroom presentations, 20 exhibitors, and 200 volunteers who make the Festival possible.  Many local and national organizations contribute generous in-kind donations and monetary donations. The Festival is very grateful for these contributors.

The Festival has been the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award, Iowa Academy of Science; Governor’s Iowa Environmental Excellence Award, Special Recognition in Water Quality; Outstanding Water Resources Educator Award, Iowa State University Water Resources Research Institute; and “Ding” Darling Environmental Education Award For Outstanding Environmental Education Program, Iowa Association of Naturalists Iowa Conservation Education Council.

Here are a couple responses from teachers who attended the 2011 Festival:

Sally Oldham, IA Christian Academy:  “Our 1st year, how fun, well worth the drive. Great day! Very organized, Thankful for the guides! Wonderful field trip to participate in. Thank you!”

Lindsay Schroeder, Kirkwood Elementary: “So well organized, great volunteers, variety of activities, love the shirts and other ‘stuff’, sure hope we can come back next year! Thank you for doing this! I just can’t put into words how much our students loved the day. Our guide was great!”

Interested in learning how your classroom can participate?  Each fall, registration information is sent to all fifth grade teachers in Iowa. Information is also posted on the Festival website,

Posted by: Linda Kinman No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Education, Environment October 5, 2010

At DMWW, It’s Cool to be Green

It’s Cool to Be Green is the theme of this school year’s free environmental education programs offered to Des Moines area schools by the Urban Environmental Partnership. Mary Gillaspey (Metro Waste Authority) and I are busy traveling to area classrooms to teach about taking care of the world around us.  In all of our 16 different programs, we try to get across the message of watershed protection in a fun way.

Young kids love Dewey the waterdrop puppet as he takes them on a journey of water traveling through Des Moines. When the Raccoon River Players (Mary and I) visit a classroom to perform three humorous skits, kids get to learn about how water becomes polluted (and how to prevent it) and about breaking the nasty litterbug habit. Students get the chance to hone their recycling skills in our Recycle Me presentation. Older students get to learn about how watersheds and landfills work through the use of table-sized plastic models.

The water cycle comes alive with a puzzle activity of where water goes at it travels through Des Moines. Students learn about the steps it takes to get drinking water and wastewater clean through large picture cards or a Powerpoint presentation and chemical samples, or they can come on a tour of Des Moines Water Works and walk through the steps of water treatment.  A highlight of the tour is a visit to the laboratory and the opportunity to see some of the testing our microbiologist and chemists do every day to make sure the water is clean and safe to drink. Teachers can schedule our programs and tours by emailing me at [email protected] .

Posted by: Gail Peckumn No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in About Us, Education, Employees, Environment, Green Initiatives, Health