Weather Education Week

Your Home Can Save Water! Weather Education Week Experiment #8

Ever wonder how you can make simple changes to conserve water? Telemundo62 Chief Meteorologist Violeta Yas shows you how.

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Need:

1 Ready Row Homes kit (This can be borrowed from the Franklin Institute)

Steps:

  1. Set up the Ready Row Homes kit on a table or flat surface. Do not add any items to the home yet.
  2. Slide the short, clear plastic container under the “sewer” portion of the row home.
  3. Next, add water to your watering can. Use roughly 1 cup of water.
  4. Slowly but steadily, pour the water over the row home roof.
  5. Continue to "rain" on your home until you have ponding of water at the bottom and notice the water draining into the "sewer" of your rowhome.
  6. Note how much water ponded on your road, sidewalk and in the sewer.
  7. Pour off and dry off your setup. We’re starting over.
  8. This time, before you add the water, add several sponges along the roof and sidewalk of the row home kit. Place the small rain barrels under the gutter drains. The rain barrels should be empty to begin, and the sponges should be dry.
  9. Repeat steps 3 and 4
  10. Compare the amount of water used before and after the addition of the sponges and cups. Note if there is any ponding of water along the sidewalk or road this time around.
  11. Finally, check the cup representing the sewer. It should be dry, or have very little water in it.

What Happened?

We modelled the importance of something called "green space."

The first round, we simply measured how much "rain" our "city" -- covered in hard surfaces like concrete, asphalt, and brick -- could take before flooding began. These hard surfaces don’t absorb water, so the water quickly ponds and flooding occurs.

The second round, we added sponges, which acted like "green space" in a city. Green space can be things like grassy surfaces and trees. But even rain buckets or barrels help!

These items are purposely added to cities to absorb more water during rain events. By comparing the first round to the second, we see that the sponges and cups allowed your "city" to take on more rain before flooding.

It is still possible to hit a flooding point, but it would take much more water.

Warm air has the capacity to hold more water. So, due to climate change, our warming world is giving air masses the capacity to hold more water, too.

If an air mass holds more water, it can rain more water! We’re seeing that in Philadelphia and the surrounding region. Storms are producing heavier rains more frequently, which brings a heightened threat for bigger floods and more frequent floods.

Due to climate change, the construction of more green space, especially in cities, is particularly important to slowing down the threat of flooding and dangerous conditions.

While the "green space" doesn’t stop the heavier rainstorms from happening, it helps the residents of our city live with the threat in a safer and more sustainable way.

Did you try the experiment? We'd love to see a video! Parents, you can upload a video by clicking here. Make sure to include the names of the participants and your home town.

Or, if you are comfortable doing so, post your video on Instagram or Twitter with #WxEdWeek and tag @nbcphiladelphia.

And check back each day at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. for new experiments during Weather Education Week @ Home! See all our experiments and coverage here.

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