From Staff Reports
Water4Otter, a new water conservation education campaign, is making a huge impact on young students in the North Texas Municipal Water District’s (NTMWD) service area. According to recent research, 78 percent of students who participated in Water4Otter discussed water conservation with their parents and offered ways to save water around the house.
Despite Texas’ drought-breaking rainfall this spring, water conservation remains a key element in meeting current and future water needs for the state. Water4Otter was developed on behalf of the NTMWD to increase conversations between students and their parents about water conservation.
Water4Otter, winner of the Texas American Water Works Association Watermark Award, features fictional animals who live near and around Lavon Lake, NTMWD’s primary water source. Students learn the correlation between saving water at home and saving water for Lavon Lake, where Otis the Otter lives with his friends, Farah the Fox and Bob the Bobcat.
In November 2014, NTMWD unveiled the live-action Water4Otter presentation at 30 elementary schools. During the Water4Otter presentation, students were asked to become official Water Spotters to help locate where water can be saved and used more efficiently.
As a result of the campaign’s success, Water4Otter is now being offered to water providers across Texas. The Water4Otter presentation targets third, fourth, and fifth graders.
Following the Water4Otter tour, NTMWD surveyed approximately 3,200 students to see how the show had affected their willingness and motivation to save water. The written surveys revealed that the Water4Otter presentation motivated students to talk with their parents about conservation. In fact, 47 percent reminded their parents to conserve more than once. Research also indicated that 90 percent of students who saw the Water4Otter presentation would rather save and give water to Otis than water their yard.
“This is exactly what we hoped would happen,” said Denise Hickey, NTMWD Public Relations and Water Conservation Manager. “We know these child-parent conversations result in real behavior change. If parents hear their children talking about saving water, we know the parents are much more likely to take steps to conserve water as well.”
Like the general public, the majority of students who were surveyed (78 percent) believe that most water is wasted inside the home. In fact, far more water waste occurs outdoors – especially through activities like watering the yard.
NTMWD encourages area residents to visit http://northtexaswateriq.org/ to discover additional ways to help your community use water efficiently.