By J.D. Ortiz
3rd Grade, Fresno County
Kerman Floyd Elementary School - Margaret Nichols and Michelle Karagozian, Teachers
In the small town of Kerman, there lived an 8-year-old boy named Carter, but his family called him "the water waster." Carter was the youngest in his family so he thought that everyone always picked on him. He didn't really pay attention to the names that his brother and sister called him.
Carter did have a really big problem. His problem wasn't just once in a while—it was every single day, actually a few times during each day. He took long showers. Sometimes he would even take 40-minute showers. Most of the time he wouldn't even be in the water, he would just stand on the side of the shower and daydream as the water ran down, hitting the shower walls. His mom would yell at him, "Hurry up and get out, you water waster!" But Carter wouldn't listen, he couldn't hear what she was screaming when the water was running, but he could tell she wasn't happy.
At night he would brush his teeth and he would leave the sink faucet running as he took his time to clean every single tooth in his mouth. His sister would glare at him and yell, "Turn off that water, you water waster!"
One of his chores was to water the grass during certain times of the day but he would look for bugs, play basketball or just hang out in Lala Land while he was watering the cement driveway. His brother would yell at him, "Turn off that water hose, you water waster!"
Carter didn't understand why everyone was making such a big deal about leaving the water on. He didn't know what their problem was, and why they were trying to save water.
Finally his mom decided to sit him down and explain to him why saving water was so important. She told him that wasting water was not good for California because there is a drought. His mom said, "Because it doesn't rain a lot and because farmers need water to grow food so we can eat, we need to stop being water wasters. Plus California has a lot of wildfires, and we use tons of water when we have to fight these fires to protect people."
Carter really didn't understand how California was running out of water since water was everywhere, so he just thought she was making up stories. Carter decided his mom was trying to get him to take shorter showers so they wouldn't be late to school every morning.
That very same night Carter went to bed. But this night he did not sleep well. He had a terrifying dream; it was so bad that it felt real. In his dream, all the dried-up plants came to life. All the thirsty tomatoes, oranges, pistachios, apples and grapes were chasing him. They were dry and wrinkled, (you know how when you get out of the pool and your fingertips are all shriveled up), well in Carter's dream they all looked like that. The plants were very mad at him and they were yelling, "You water waster! You're stealing all of our water!"
Even the farmers were saying to the crops, "Get him!" They were chasing him with hay forks.
He woke up sweating and nervous.
That morning he went to his mom. "Mom, how long should I take a shower?" Surprised she said, "No longer than 10 minutes." Carter asked her for a timer and set it for exactly nine minutes.
That night, before he went to bed, Carter watched his sister brush her teeth and noticed that she didn't let the water run. Carter then brushed his teeth and did it exactly like his sister.
The next day when it was time to do his chores he asked his brother to help him water the grass. Carter thought that he could almost hear the grass drinking, gulping, and swallowing. They were probably so thirsty since that was really the first time he ever actually did it right.
From that day on Carter promised to be a water saver and not a water waster!