Weatherford Democrat

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July 5, 2012

Program educates on conserving water

PARKER COUNTY — In an effort to address the growing problem of water consumption, the Upper Trinity Groundwater Conservation District is getting involved at the start, educating local fourth and fifth graders on the subject.

Major Rivers is a compilation of strategic water planning and managements discussions, and has been distributed at various schools throughout the state, including Weatherford, Poolville, Garner and Azle ISDs.

“It’s important to learn this kind of thing at a young age,” Jillian McDonald, spokeswoman for the Upper Trinity Groundwater Conservation District, said. “They’re the ones that are going to be dealing with this issue in the future.”

According to the Texas Water Development board, more than 23 percent of future water resources will come strictly from conservation efforts. Today, 60 percent of the water supply used by the state is groundwater, and with recent weather conditions, the groundwater levels are substantially lower than in previous years.

“High water consumption is an ever-increasing issue, especially in Texas,” McDonald said. “Last year, the drought we had was a big problem, and now aquifer levels are kind of low and now what they used to be.

“Now we’re really pushing for consumers to use less water in their homes.”

The educational program handed out to schools is comprised of eight lessons per packet. Packets come with a teacher’s guide and lesson plans for the year that deal with social studies, history and general science, and teachers can apply it however they choose, McDonald said. Take-home leaflets covering broad water conservation are also included.

Major Rivers was adopted from the Lower Colorado River Authority in 2003, and has tailored its curriculum to match the state regulatory education standards for the STAAR and TAKS testing criteria.

The focus of the program is on a cowboy, Major Rivers, and his horse Aquifer, who encounter obstacles for protecting water resources. Lessons include the water cycle, watersheds and river basins, water treatment and distribution and using water efficiently.

“Our hope is that they’ll learn this and pass it on at home to their parents or friends,” McDonald said. “Just spreading the knowledge.”

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