Rascal, a spotted dog, was having a bath when his friend Pola knocked at the door.
Knock, knock, knock!
‘Rascal, It’s Pola! Are you home?’ she called.
‘Yes, come in! The door’s open, I’ll be there in a minute!’ he called back.
It wasn’t that hard to guess where Rascal was. Litres of water were pouring out of the bath and under the door.
‘Rascal, what’s happening here? Is there a small flood or something?’ asked the owl.
The doggy smiled, looking at the flooded bathroom. He was having so much fun that he didn’t notice how much water he had spilled on the floor. He loved to fill the whole bath with water and often pretended that his paw was a sea monster chasing the “pirate ship” – what he called his small wooden boat.
‘Yeah, I have gone a bit overboard with that,’ admitted Rascal, although the wide smile on his face suggested that he wasn’t embarrassed at all. ‘Pola, can you wait a minute? I’ll brush my teeth and we’ll be able to go to the scout meeting.’
‘We’re going to be late for the meeting. Hurry up!’
The scout meeting was about to take place nearby. Scout leaders, the Lynx and the Vixen, and a few children of our friends’ age were already there.
‘Hi Rascal, Hi Pola! It’s nice to see you!’ called the Lynx from the distance. ‘We’re about to play scavenger hunt. Do you want to join us?’
‘Sure!’ answered Pola eagerly and pulled Rascal after her.
All animals gathered around the Lynx and listened carefully to what he was saying.
‘Rules are easy,’ said the Lynx. ‘Today’s scavenger hunt is concentrated on water saving. All tasks and questions will be related to how we can save water at home, in the garden or at school. There will be two teams. Each will receive a map and initial instructions and will then have to find three checkpoints as fast as possible. You will have to answer one question or do one task at every checkpoint. If your answer is correct, or if you do the task right, you will be able to carry on. The first team to finish wins. Is everything clear?’ asked the Lynx.
‘Of course!’ replied the scouts eagerly.
The Lynx divided them into two teams. Rascal, Pola and Hedgehog Hansel were in the first team. Hedgehog’s sister Gretel, the Roe deer, the Hare and the Vixen were in the second team. When the two teams prepared themselves, the Lynx stood in front of them and announced:
‘Now, we will pick the team which will begin our game first. To do this, I will ask you one question. Those of you who raise their hands first and answer correctly, win. Now, focus.’ The Lynx looked at the teams. ‘Please tell me what did you do this morning to save some water at home? What did you do to use less water today?’
Gretel and Rascal raised their hands almost at the same moment. But Rascal was a little bit faster.
‘Rascal, you were first. Tell us what did you do today to save water?’
‘Well…’ Rascals started to wonder. ‘I filled the whole bath with water… but I suppose I shouldn’t have done that. I let the water run when I was brushing my teeth, although this is also a bad example. Oh dear!’ Rascal scratched his ear. ‘Nothing positive comes to my mind,’ he admitted, embarrassed.
‘I’m sorry but your time is up. Gretel, did you manage to save any water today?’
‘Yes! I poured some water into a glass to brush my teeth. Thanks to this, I didn’t run the water all the time during brushing. Instead of using 15 litres, I used less than a litre. It was literally a glass of water,’ she said proudly.
‘Great! This is an example of very good behaviour. This is what we all should do at home. I’m sure that Rascal will now remember that we should pour water into a glass and leave the tap turned off. And now…’ He looked at the teams. ‘Let’s begin our game! Gretel’s team goes first.’
The first team left. After 10 minutes Rascal’s team was also allowed to go. The first checkpoint was located in the nearest forest clearing. When they reached the place, they saw a pole in the middle of the clearing, lying by which was a sack. The team quickly ran towards it and opened it up. The big sack was filled with several drawings. They presented: a glass; a bath; a shower; a dishwasher with three plates inside; and the litter thrown into the toilet. Apart from the drawings, there was a small board with a question written on it.
Which things and activities help to save water?
Rascal immediately grabbed the drawing of a glass and placed it in front of him.
‘A glass,’ he said firmly to the Lynx. ‘Instead of letting the tap running during brushing our teeth, we can pour some water into a glass. Then, we use less water!’ Rascal was very proud that he memorised all that Gretel had said at the scout meeting.
‘Very good! What else?’ asked the Lynx.
Pola took the shower and bath drawings in her hands. She put the bath into the sack and left the shower in front of her.
‘A shower is better than a bath. When we take a 2 or 3 minute shower, we use much less water than when we have a bath,’ she said and looked at Rascal with amusement. ‘If someone pretends to be a pirate and fills the whole bath with water, they use as much of it as five children taking a quick shower.’
‘Good!’ The Lynx smiled. ‘Playing in the bath is fun, but only occasionally and when less water is used,’ he added.
The animals divided the rest of the drawings correctly. The dishwasher helps to save water but only when it is completely filled with dishes. And one should never throw the litter into a toilet because flushing it would require using too much water. The litter should always be thrown into a bin and nowhere else.
‘OK, the task is complete,’ said the Lynx. ‘You can go on to the next checkpoint.’
Hedgehog Hansel jumped on Rascal’s back and they ran on their way.
The second checkpoint was located next to a garden. A huge weighing scale was standing in the grass, right in front of tomato patches. There were two barrels placed on its pans. One of the pans was considerably lower, which meant that the barrel placed on it was much heavier. The other barrel was empty, and the pan was much higher. As at the previous checkpoint, they found a small board in front of the scale with the following inscription:
How much water can be saved in one day only by repairing a leaking tap? Will a new seal save one glass of water a day, one bucket of water a day, or half a bath of water a day?
‘Look,’ said the Lynx. ‘There is rainwater in the container in front of the scale. Take as much as you think can be saved by repairing a tap and pour it into the empty barrel. If the level of pans becomes balanced out, then you poured a correct amount of water.’
The owl, the hedgehog and the dog looked at each other knowingly.
‘A glass!’ called Pola. ‘I’m sure that no more than a glass of water would be wasted during one day.’
‘What? Come on! I’m sure it will be a whole bucket!’ replied the hedgehog firmly.
‘A bucket? That’s not possible! It’s too much. A leaking tap will fill one glass at the most.’
Animals looked at the Lynx, but the serious expression of his face didn’t reveal anything. He didn’t want to give the answer away.
‘OK, so I’ll pour a glass of water,’ decided Rascal.
He did so, but the scale didn’t move.
‘That’s impossible!’ called the startled dog.
‘Ha! I told you!’ laughed Hansel. ‘More than a glass of water would be wasted because of a leaking tap. I’m sure that a bucket is the right answer.’
Following Hansel’s instructions, Rascal filled a bucket with water and poured it into the barrel.
The scale didn’t move again.
‘What?!’ called the animals. ‘The scale must be broken,’ they said, looking at the Lynx. But the scout leader shook his head. The scale was working properly.
‘So this means that as much as a half a bath of water would be wasted during only one day?’ asked the animals in disbelief.
You may not believe it, but this is the correct answer. When Rascal poured all rainwater into the barrel, the pans moved to the same level. The task was completed.
Pola, although startled, took the map out of her pocket and read the last task. According to the map, the last checkpoint should be somewhere near the balance scale. Then, she spotted the other team searching for their spot nearby.
‘There it is!’ cried Pola. ‘A placard with number three dug into a tomato patch.’
‘Quickly, it’s the last task. Maybe we will manage to be first,’ called Rascal and jumped with joy, ready to hear the instructions.
‘There’s a tomato patch right in front of you. The vegetables have to be watered every day. When it’s time, water the whole patch. For this, use the rainwater which you have poured into the barrel,’ Pola read out.
‘OK, hedgehog, owl, come on! The other team is just standing there and they aren´t watering their patch. Let’s take the watering cans and water the tomatoes. We’ll win!’
Pola and Hansel took the watering cans and quickly filled them with water. When they were ready to water the plants, they heard Gretel calling for them from the other side of the garden.
‘Hansel, Hansel, wait! Do not water the tomatoes!’ she yelled.
‘What? Why shouldn’t we water the plants?’ the hedgehog asked, surprised.
‘Don’t listen to her! I bet she wants to win the game. She doesn’t want us to be first to water the vegetables,’ barked Rascal and ran towards their patch, not listening to the hedgehogs.
Hansel knew his sister and was sure that she wouldn’t warn them only to win the game.
‘Why shouldn’t I water them?’ he called to her. ‘We are supposed to use the water from the balance scale! That´s what the instructions said!’
‘You need to wait! Look, the best time to water the garden is…’ she didn’t need to finish because then Rascal suddenly stopped. He reminded himself what his granny once told him about watering plants.
‘The evening!’ finished the dog. ‘It’s best to water plants in the evening. When the sun sets and it’s chilly, the water doesn’t evaporate so fast. On account of this, plants get more water.’
‘You’re right!’ called everyone. ‘The garden should be watered either in the morning, or in the evening. By watering the plants now, we would waste lots of water.’
The two teams sat down in a clearing together and waited until the sun sets. They both won – they completed their tasks and now finally had the time to talk to each other. In the evening, after watering the garden with rainwater, they received the prize – the Lynx allowed them to pick some tomatoes.