By CRISTINA JANNEY
The Hays Water Resources Department hosted hundreds of children and their parents Thursday during the second-annual World Water Day Fun Fest at the Sternberg Museum of Natural History.
Attendees learned about low-flow shower heads, the water table, where to find water in the environment and how to prevent water pollution.
The Water Resources Department gave away shower timers and offered crafts and a coloring contest to remind children to conserve water. Water conservationists urge people to take a five-minute shower or less.
Free jar openers reminded water consumers to avoid sending fats, oils and greases down water drains, because they clog pipes.
Jeff Crispin, Hays director of water resources, was also giving away toilet dye tabs. You place the tabs in your toilet tank, and if the dye shows up in the toilet water, you have a leak that needs to be fixed. About 1,500 of these packets will soon be going out to local students. You can also pick up packets for free at the city of Hays offices.
“We are trying to bring kids out and parents out to educate them about the importance of saving water and doing everything they can to save water at home, or anywhere for that matter, and how important water resources are,” Crispin said.
The youth and parents were also able to see a tower of 91 gallons of water jugs, which is representative of the per capita water usage of a Hays resident per day.
Crispin said Hays residents use less water than any other city in the state, but we still need to and can do better.
Holly Dickman, water conservation specialist, said the event has been a good opportunity to reach both children and adults with the messages of water quality and conservation.
“From little on up, it is amazing when I do school programs how much those little kids who live here in Hays already know because they have heard it for awhile,” Dickman said. “Any time we can reiterate that it is best to conserve and it is best to be conscience of water usage and what we are doing with our water is a good thing.”
Stacie Minson, KSU watershed specialist, was also on hand to offer activities and demonstration centers based on water conversation. She said she was trying to educate kids about how dynamic their water system is.
The watershed had a display of different types of pollutants that can get into the watershed, including pet waste, herbicides, soil sediments, chemicals and fertilizers.
The children used cereal and marshmallows to build edible soil layers.
“They eventually will become adults who have to pay the utility bills and have to make sure when they turn a faucet on they have a clean, safe water supply. ” Minson said of the children.
A.J. Hill, water plant operator, was available to inform attendees about some of the many rebate programs the city offers.
The city offers rebate programs for high-efficiency wash machines, low-flow toilets , turf conversion and preferred and acceptable trees. Local officials also offered information about xeriscaping, which uses native, drought tolerant plants to conserve water in landscaping.
You can learn more about water conservation, city rebate programs, water-smart landscaping and city water rules on the city of Hays website.