Water Conservation through YouTube

‘A Day Without Water’ video contest entry by Jordan Parmer.

YouTube and Vimeo videos cover all the hottest topics: cute animals, celebrities, television shows, water conservation, everything! That’s right, as the New York Times Green Blog displayed a few weeks ago, there are great water conservation videos from across the country– some funny, some serious– but all deliver that important water conservation message.

The observations and highlighted videos from the Green Blog are definitely worth a watch and read, but first, what do we in Colorado contribute to the national water conservation video scene? Does that mean anything for water education? Utility marketing? Consumer awareness? Have videos moved water conservation to a new level? Share your thoughts!

The famous Denver Water “Running Toilets Waste Water” video has seen 11,544 hits– not bad! According to Denver Water the “Use Only What you Need” marketing campaign, which includes much more than that one running toilet, has helped reduce water consumption about 20 percent over the past six years.

What other videos are out there for Coloradans? The City of Thornton’s Water Drive video is similar to Denver Water’s theme. Then we have something more subtle by the Colorado River District and Northwest Colorado Council of Governments “It’s the Same Water” campaign. And of course school project videos grace YouTube, with this superhero scenario by Sagebrush Elementary School students at the top of the list. Then, don’t forget the Water 2012 ‘Day Without Water’ video contestants, where you’ll find seven very different entries. What’s your favorite conservation video?

Interested in the national and amusing Green Blog take on water conservation videos, have a look:

But in this array there are some standouts, like Oklahoma City’s recent offering, or this one from students at Kennesaw State University in Georgia.

Often, contributions to the art form show someone cavalierly overusing water in the sink or shower and are supplemented by statistics about the amount of water wasted every year. One variant features water wardens — like the “Saturday Night Live” comedians Horatio Sanz and Rachel Dratch — dropping in on the bathrooms and kitchens of unsuspecting water spendthrifts.

Cute toddlers are enlisted for a French offering and another from Malaysia. Others incorporate music — pitting Pachelbel’s Canon (a stately tone, amid water waste) against “I Don’t Want to Lose Your Love Tonight” (an upbeat tone, for greener water habits).

The water skits on “Sesame Street” include a video in which an animated fish’s pond is drained as a little boy runs the tap while brushing his teeth. Then there’s the sadistic approach, in which profligate users face retaliation from a garden hose and a miniature poodle.

School competitions to develop these public service announcements are common in the United States and in places like Singapore, where water scarcity has led to a national program for recycling water. Competitors tend to cast toothbrushes and faucets in leading roles. Toilets can be harder to work with tastefully, but it’s not impossible (see here and here).

Some entries have the cadence of biblical commandments (“I should not take more than five minutes to shower”). But given that they were produced by primary schools, they might be excused for being a bit didactic. A few Australian offerings are a little more free-form.

Then there’s this production from the guys at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, who seized on an instantly recognizable cultural meme and ran with it. They should enter this in some contest.

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