Even though the United Nations World Water Day has passed you can still find plenty of opportunities to teach about current water issues in your classrooms. And although many students might think that water issues are something that impact other parts of the world (Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message on World Water Day), this NewsHour video report shows that water is an issue in the United States too.
This video segment explains how local authorities in water-strapped southern California are exploring new approaches to water usage, launching new programs that send highly treated wastewater back into the groundwater supply to serve as drinking water.
Before showing the video try opening your discussion with the bombshell question addressed in the video: “Would you drink water that came from your toilet?”
Then use what is certainly going to be an animated class reaction to begin a brief discussion. Two points to consider are:
- For nearly a third of the world’s population who lack toilets and clean sanitation the results can be unfortunate; every 20 seconds a child dies due to poor sanitation.
- There are water shortages in many parts of the United States too and these shortages are forcing communities to search for creative solutions.
Before they watch the video, tell students about the program described in the video segment, creatively summarized by correspondent Jeffrey Kaye: “Their best chance for getting more water for the area’s three million residents was going down the drain, billions of gallons of wastewater going to waste.”
After watching the video and discussing the ideas presented, your class can flow in many directions.
NewsHour Extra has created a lesson on the topic, Understanding your water: from source to tap and back again , which is part of broader NewsHour in-depth coverage on the topic of water recycling.
Here are some other water related Internet links that you might find useful:
U.N. WorldWater Day
Water Resources: Google Directory Portal
World Water Council: Water and education
Guardian Weekly: Rural Ethiopian women and water , exerpts from superb film by Ali Hobbes launched on World Water Day
UN International Year of Sanitation: 2008
More PBS lesson plans
WGBH: Got Water?
P.O.V.’s Borders Picture Project: Water Scroll down for links and more PBS lesson plans