The Haliburton-Muskoka-Kawartha Children’s Water Festival is a project of Friends of Ecological and Environmental Learning (FEEL). The first festival was presented in 2005. It is now an annual fall event.
The Haliburton-Muskoka-Kawartha Children’s Water Festival brings together the expertise of educators, water quality and quantity specialists, community volunteers, conservation groups, industry and government to provide elementary students from Haliburton, Muskoka and the City of Kawartha Lakes with the opportunity to discover the importance and diversity of water.
The purpose of hosting a Children’s Water Festival is to educate students on the importance of water quality, how the water (hydrology) cycle works, what each person can do to maintain and/or improve water quality so that future generations will have the water resources required to maintain human and animal populations. It is also important to educate students that what happens in the Muskoka and Haliburton Watersheds will impact upon communities, habitats and wildlife populations down stream. Given the reliance of the regional economy on our natural resource base, the wise use and protection of our resources, particularly water, that grows out of knowledge is essential to our continued well being.
Two of the primary objectives of this holistic-focused event are to develop personal awareness of the importance of water, and to foster respect for the natural environment. It is hoped that by increasing awareness and respect, as individuals we will make a commitment to use natural resources wisely.
Learning in Context
Water covers 75 per cent of the planet, and also makes up about 75 per cent of a person’s body weight. Water is essential for all life on Earth. Without it, nothing lives and nothing grows.
Civilization depends on the availability of water – water to grow food, water to drink, water to wash with, and water to travel on and enjoy recreation in, on and around. All cultures and faiths around the world recognize the sanctity of water. Throughout history, water has turned mill wheels, carried ships, provided steam and produced electrical power. Today, water continues to be essential to the health of human beings and the overall natural environment, as well as our economies. For example, water is an essential element for a vast array of industrial processes.
In Ontario, we enjoy what appears to be a super-abundance of water. The word ‘Ontario’ is actually from a Haudonasonee (Iroquoian) language and means ‘beautiful water’ or ‘sparkling water’. There are about 250 000 lakes in Ontario, and water covers about one sixth of our province.
Nearly 17 per cent of Ontario’s land area consists of lakes and rivers, many of which form the province’s boundaries, like the Great Lakes and the Ottawa River.
Ontario residents and businesses draw 58 per cent of their water supply from lakes and rivers (surface water), and 42 per cent from ground water. However, human activities can negatively affect water sources, sometimes with irreversible outcomes. Fortunately people are beginning to realize much of our water supply is becoming contaminated and over-utilized. This in turn can endanger the health of people, plants and wildlife. In order to keep water sources clean and plentiful, human behaviour must change.
Some other interesting water facts include:
- Water consumption usually drops 18-25% after a water meter is installed
- One litre of oil can contaminate up to 2 million litres of water
- Many homes lose more water from leaky taps than they need for cooking and drinking
- A five minute shower with a standard shower head uses 100 litres of water, while the same length of shower with a low flow shower head uses only 35 litres
- A single lawn sprinkler spraying 19 litres per minute uses 50% more water in just one hour than a combination of ten toilet flushes, two five minute showers, two dishwasher loads, and a full load of clothes
These and other water facts can be found on Environment Canada’s Freshwater website, www.ec.gc.ca.