As part of our mission, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission works with community and education organizations to create engaging programs that teach children to make sustainable choices in everyday life. We worked with the California Academy of Sciences on Tales from the Tap, an animated video conversation between two girls from San Francisco who talk about where our water comes from and why it's important to not waste it.
The story is designed to teach elementary school students about how San Francisco’s water supply system works. It is told through the girls' perspective as they talk about the history, the present and the future of San Francisco's water supply.
- In what ways did the people in the video use water? What are some other ways you and your family use water in your daily lives?
- Besides rain, what other sources of water were mentioned in the video?
- Turn to a partner and discuss: Why do we get our water from so many different places in California?
- What are the challenges that California faces with finding a large enough water supply?
- What is the scientific name for a place where water is stored underground?
- What is one action you can take to do your part to help save water at home?
- What does it mean to “recycle water”? What are some examples of ways that places in San Francisco reuse water?
- How often is the water in San Francisco tested for public safety? In addition to testing drinking water, what other kinds of water are tested?
aquifer: an underground reservoir made up of sand, silt, or other materials that can readily store water
condensation: the process by which water vapor in the air turns into liquid water when warm air hits a cold surface
desalination: the process that removes salt from seawater, resulting in drinkable water
groundwater: a renewable source of naturally occurring water that is found beneath the ground surface
irrigation: the supply of water to land; often used in cities to provide water for parks, golf courses, or other landscapes
reservoir: a large natural or artificial lake used as a source of water supply
reverse osmosis: a process used to remove materials that we don’t want in our water by using pressure to force water through a very thin layer of material, leaving the unwanted materials on the other side
- In San Francisco, most of the water that flows out of our faucets comes from snow melting and flowing down from the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
- San Francisco's watershed includes a system of dams, reservoirs, aqueducts, storage facilities, and pipes that bring us clean drinking water.
- We can save water through practices like turning off the faucet when not in use and checking for leaks.
- If we use too much water, there will not be enough for all of us and the natural world.
- Our water is tested at every step by a lot of people who care and have expertise to make sure it’s safe.