# Are you a WaterWatch Detective?

*The following activities involve measurement of liquids and some mid-level math skills.*

### Did you know that we all use water everyday?

Some activities use a little water, and some a lot. For example, every time you brush your teeth with the water running you use an average of 4 gallons of water and watering your lawn for an hour can take up to 300 gallons!

**How much water is in a gallon?** Do you know those big plastic milk jugs? Those are a gallon. Imagine using 4 of those to brush your teeth with! Imagine pouring 300 of those on your yard!

**Here’s how much water it takes to do some common everyday activities:**

Activity |
Amount of Water |

Flushing the Toilet | 5 gallons per flush |

Brushing your teeth | 1 gallon each time |

Taking a bath | 36 gallons each time |

Running the dishwasher | 15 gallons each time |

Washing your hands & face | 4 gallons each time |

Taking a shower | 25 gallons each time |

Washing laundry | 45 gallons each time |

Watering your lawn | 300 gallons each time |

### Be a WaterWatch Detective!

**You can find out how much water YOU use by following these steps:**

**Step 1.** Get a piece of lined paper and write down each of the activities in the chart above in different lines.

**Step 2. **Add up how many times you do each of these activities in a day, and write those numbers down next to the activity. For example, you may brush your teeth two times, flush the toilet four times, and shower once.

**Step 3.** Next, multiply each of these figures times the number of gallons of water each activity uses (see the chart above for that information). For example, brushing your teeth takes 4 gallons of water. Multiply that number times 2 (for the number of times you brush your teeth each day), and you get 8 gallons. Likewise, flushing the toilet takes 5 gallons of water. If you flush the toilet 4 times a day, that’s 5 times 4, which equals 20 gallons!

**Step 4.** After you have finished Step 3 for each activity, add of each of these totals together. That shows how many gallons of water you use every day just doing these activities! How many gallons of what did you discover that you use??

**How Much Water Does Your Family Use?**

You can figure out how much water your family uses by repeating the WaterWatch Detective exercise for each member of your family. Add up everyone’s totals from Step 4 and you will get the total number of gallons of water that your family uses in an average day. Were you surprised by the total??

But wait! DID YOU KNOW that in most houses and apartments a LOT of water is wasted through leaks in water pipes and toilets??? In fact, over 20% of toilets leak!!!

### Join the Leak Lookout!!

Find out if there are water leaks in your home! There are a few ways you can do this:

**Leak Lookout Experiment #1**: —Ask a parent where your water meter is. This shows how much water is used in your house. Note where the dial is set, and ask everyone in your family not to use ANY water for a half an hour. Then look at the meter again? Has it moved? If it has, that means there is a leak somewhere!

**Leak Lookout Experiment #2:** —Leaky toilets are the most common way water is wasted in people’s homes. To test if your toilet leaks, ask a parent to help you put a couple of drops of food coloring in the tank of your toilet. Wait 15 minutes – don’t flush the toilet! – and check to see if any of the dye has spread to the toilet bowl. If it has, then your toilet has a leak!

**Leak Lookout Experiment #3:** —Do any of the faucets or showers in your house drip when they’re not turned on? That’s a leak. Even a tiny leak can waste a lot of water. Try this: if there’s a faucet that drip, drip, drips, watch it for one full minute and count how many drips fall in that time. Even if it drips only 10 times in one minute, that adds up to almost 1.4 gallons a day! – over 500 gallons a year!

### WaterWatch Detective Math Problem

**IF** a regular glass of water = 12 ounces

**AND **one gallon of water = 128 ounces

**AND** a bathtub holds about 36 gallons of water

**THEN **how many glasses of water does it take to fill a bathtub?

(scroll down for answer)

**Answer:** If one gallon = 128 ounces, then 36 gallons = 4,608 ounces, or **384 glasses of water**!

If you drink 8 glasses of water a day, that means **one bath = 48 days’ worth of drinking water**!!!