Posts Tagged ‘#valueofwater’

Lessons from a former Kool-Aid kid

Why drinking water between meals is a better alternative to the sugary drinks of yesterday — and today.

By Jessica Mahaffey

I was a Kool-Aid kid.

The sweet drink fueled my summertime adventures in Waterton Canyon. I remember whipping up my cousin Matt’s favorite flavor (orange) instead of my favorite (grape) because my mom insisted I be polite to guests.

But oh, how times have changed. Today’s parents are replacing pitchers of Kool-Aid with seemingly healthier options like milk, sports drinks and fruit juices.

But these “healthy” drinks can have surprisingly large amounts of sugar, a point powerfully illustrated in Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation’s Cavities Get Around campaign about the link between what kids are drinking and childhood tooth decay.



What’s the big deal about sugar? Dental health experts say sugar fuels cavities and impacts oral health. According to the foundation, tooth decay is the most common chronic disease of childhood, affecting more than 40 percent of kindergartners in Colorado. More than half of all children in our state will experience tooth decay by the third grade. Children in Hispanic and low-income communities — where there is mistrust of tap water — are disproportionately impacted.

“Poor oral health can set children up for a lifelong struggle,” said Wyatt Hornsby, campaign director at Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation. “It’s hard to form words, focus in school, sleep and play when you’re in pain. That’s why we’re focusing on one of the root causes of tooth decay in kids: sugar.”

How much sugar is in these drinks? More than you might think.


Beverage Serving Size (ounces) Sugar (teaspoons) Sugar (grams)
Kool-Aid 8 oz 4.4 tsp 22g
Orange Juice 8 oz 6.6 tsp 33g
Apple Juice Box 6.8 oz 4.2 tsp 21g
Grape Juice 8 oz 7.2 tsp 36g
Gatorade 8 oz 4.2 tsp 21g
Chocolate Milk 8 oz 4.8 tsp 24g


So what does this have to do with us? Water, of course.

Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation encourages parents to limit sugary drinks at home and school and serve only water between meals and at bedtime.

“Our research has shown that juices and sugary drinks are major sources of sugar for many children,” said Hornsby.  “Water, on the other hand, helps protect a child’s teeth from decay when it’s from the tap and contains fluoride.”

Consider this Kool-Aid kid reformed.

A family stops at the water trailer this summer to enjoy a cup of Denver Water. “I love water because it keeps me healthy and happy” (left). “I value water because it makes me strong” (right).


What Legos, Post-it notes and yarn have to do with the value of water

What Legos, Post-it notes and yarn have to do with the value of water

Recycled aluminum cans make up this water drop to illustrate the point, "You can't make this stuff, so please use only what you need."

Recycled aluminum cans make up this water drop to say, “You can’t make this stuff, so please use only what you need.”

You can’t make this stuff, so please use only what you need.

By Jessica Mahaffey

Coloradans really do get it: Water is a scarce resource in the West — and in the world.

They get it even if they don’t know the numbers, which are pretty staggering: While 70 percent of the earth is water, less than 4 percent is fresh water. And less than 1 percent of all the world’s fresh water is available to complete the journey of water for use in our communities.

We can’t make more of this critical, natural resource. But we can use it wisely.

Nine years ago, Denver Water committed to an ambitious conservation goal and began talking with our customers about the value of water through innovative conservation programs and campaigns urging people to Use Only What You Need. Like California today, we were a community on the tail end of a serious drought that had threatened the health of our cities, environment and water supply for future generations.

We didn’t know what the result would be, but our customers responded in ways that exceeded anyone’s expectations. Denver Water customers have become leaders in creating a culture of water conservation in our dry Western climate. We still face serious challenges, but we have a foundation of success to build upon.

This year, Denver Water is featuring 10 one-of-a-kind art installments to remind us that water’s presence in our world is the work of Mother Nature.

Displayed in bus shelters across our service area, each handcrafted work offers a beautiful representation of water, using wood, Legos, yarn, thread, molding clay, recycled aluminum cans, colored pencils and Post-it notes.

Much in the way we each experience art, our connection to water is personal, and so is this year’s call to action: You can’t make this stuff, so please use only what you need.

We invite you to check out the artwork installations, on display through Aug. 30, which you can find on the interactive map in this virtual tour:


And if you’re so inclined, use the comment box below to tell us more about your own personal relationship with water and the ways you’re using it more efficiently.


Rapping about water, Part 2

Rapping about water, Part 2

Our letter to Jay Z drew a crowd, but the value of water is what’s worth discussing

By Denver Water staff

We never imagined that our open letter to Jay Z would attract that kind of coverage. It was meant to be a light-hearted story with a serious subject at its core — the value of water.

We don’t want that message to be lost, so we’re taking our own advice: We’re sticking to our own business, man. As water resource managers, we want people to understand our most precious — and valuable — resource.

This is not about whether Jay Z thinks water is free. In fact, we commend him for speaking out about the water crisis in other countries. We understood his reference to water and music. He was talking about the value of the very thing that provides his livelihood.

So were we.

Everywhere you look, water leads the news. From flooding to droughts, water affects our communities, our economy and our ecosystem. At Denver Water, our job is to manage this vital resource, whether we have too much or too little.

Today, our Cheesman and Strontia Spring reservoirs are full from the extremely wet spring (see video below). We’ve seen spilling like this before, but not in a decade or more.

In some spots there is more water than manageable, like Texas.  And yet California longs for more, suffering one of the worst droughts in its history — at least for now.

So whether you are Jay Z or Joe Blow, we all need to understand that water is a precious commodity indeed, and that we have to use every drop efficiently. After all, you can’t make this stuff.

And let’s not forget: Jay Z also said that water from the tap — clean, fresh water that we can use without worry — is a beautiful thing.

We agree. Let’s keep talking. Water is worth a broad discussion, and we intend to be a big part of it.


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