Payson fourth-graders got an up close appreciation of the fragile resource water, during Thursday’s Make a Splash Water Festival.
At least 200 fourth-graders from all Payson elementary schools attended the event at Green Valley Park.
Students were broken up into groups to engage in hands-on investigations of watershed, groundwater, the water cycle and ways to conserve water, said Viki Holmes, with the Town of Payson.
Volunteer Bobby Davis said at his booth they were teaching students about water conservation.
He explained that they first sit the students down and ask them about water to see what they know. They ask questions like: how do you use water, how does it get into your home, how did people get water 100 years ago and how much does water weigh? (8.34 pounds per gallon, if you are wondering)
Volunteers then put the students to work hauling buckets of water back and forth between trash cans in a relay race. This demonstrates how people used to have to haul their water, while today, we simply turn on a faucet.
After the race, students brainstorm ways to conserve water.
At other booths, volunteers explain the water table by funneling water through rocks and sand and the water cycle by having students roll a dice at different stops along the water journey.
Holmes said she hopes students will take the knowledge they learn today, home to their parents where conservation efforts really begin.
Davis pointed out that Payson is well ahead of the pack in terms of water conservation. Compared to the Valley, where each person uses at least 140 gallons a day, Payson residents use 86.
“We have one of the leading water departments,” he said.
The Payson Water Department coordinated the event with the support of the Salt River Project and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.
The Water Recourses Research Center and Cooperative Extension Services at the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences manages the Arizona Water Festival program.