WYLIE, Texas — With the help of a 6-foot-tall live-action mascot named Otis the Otter, the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) is recruiting students to help in its fight to save water.
The new water conservation program features live educational school shows and a new website, Water4Otter.org.
In addition to Otis the Otter, the campaign stars his friends, Bob the Bobcat and Farah the Fox. These characters are teaching young Texans an important lesson: The water people use at home is the same water animals at Lavon Lake use to survive. Lavon Lake is the primary natural water source of the NTMWD.
“Children can help make a difference,” said Denise Hickey, NTMWD spokesperson and conservation manager. “It’s no secret North Texas is in a drought, and conservation is a big part of making sure the water we have extends through the drought. We’re giving kids reasons to start those conservation habits early and talk to their parents about it.” Water4Otter is based on research done by the NTMWD that indicates parents are more willing to conserve if their kids ask them to. It’s part of the successful, award-winning Water IQ conservation campaign pioneered by the NTMWD starting in 2006.
On November 3rd, the Water4Otter campaign kicks off a 21-day tour of schools in the NTMWD’s member cities: Plano, Farmersville, Forney, Mesquite, Garland, McKinney, Princeton, Royse City, Allen, Wylie, Rowlett, Richardson, and Rockwall. Otis the Otter will visit schools with an emcee and ask students to become “Water Spotters” during a 45-minute show that features an original game and song. The song has catchy lyrics written especially for the school-aged crowd. Here’s a verse:
Turn off the water when you brush your teeth
Take quick showers, but please don’t reek
Get a low-flow toilet, if you can
But don’t stop flushing, do it for your fam
Students watching the show learn they can “Save Water4Otter” by pointing out broken sprinkler heads and turning sprinkler systems to manual so they don’t run when it’s raining. Students also learn to save water by not watering lawns between Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day.