Children’s minds are like sponges, they absorb everything. So it’s important to expose them to ideas and practices that will help them grow up to be healthy, intelligent and caring adults. Parents and teachers are their main influences, of course, but even the Public Service Commission can play a role in the development of West Virginia’s students.
Starting in 2010 until the pandemic hit, the PSC regularly sent out representatives to talk with third and fourth graders throughout the state about water conservation as part of the annual Fix a Leak Week, sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Over the years, our program has evolved into an interactive water conservation presentation that reaches approximately 1,000 third and fourth graders each year. Students learn about how precious clean potable water is 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 is looking forward to returning to classrooms around the state as soon as we can. In the meantime, I would like to share some of the information from our program.
By taking small steps each day, you can lower your water bill and save money. Turning off the water while you brush your teeth or shave can save up to four gallons. Even low-flow showerheads use two gallons per minute. So in a house with four people, if everyone shortened their shower time by five minutes each day, over the course of one month that family would save 1,240 gallons of water! Another easy conservation trick is to wait until you have a full load before running the washing machine or the dishwasher.
The most important thing you can do is fix any water leaks you find. The average household can lose up to 10,000 gallons of water each year from leaks. And 10 percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day. That’s a terrible waste of a precious resource.
Look for leaks wherever water comes into or goes out of your home. Be sure to check hidden water sources such as the water heater, ice maker, dishwasher and washing machine. Remember what we teach the students: Leaks may be sneaky, but they can’t hide from me!
Charlotte Lane is the commissioner of the state’s Public Service Commission.