Center for Creative Energy



SHEDDing Light on Water Conservation

Addison and Will of Aqua Squad SHEDD Some Light on Water Conservation.

Aqua Squad walking to the Shedd Aquarium

San Angelo has some problems with our water. We’re in the middle of a huge drought, the Concho River was designated an impaired body of water by the EPA, and three of our four lakes are drying up.

A view of Lake Michigan from the Tall Ship Windy

Chicago has a plentiful source of water, but struggles with issues of quality and others trying to take water from Lake Michigan and other Great Lakes by building pipelines away from the city. Water is a precious resource everywhere!

Today we explored how the Shedd Aquarium tries to conserve water. We went behind the scenes to explore how water goes from Chicago’s municipal water supply and through the water carbon filter system, and then treated to replicate the types of water the animals live in.

Aqua Squad with the Shedd's Allen La Pointe, Director of Environtmental Quality and Melissa Williams, Director of Education

Allen La Pointe, the Shedd’s “Water Go to Guy” (a.k.a. Director of Environmental Quality), led us through all these amazing processes.  We also discussed ways that the Shedd helps conserve water. A lot of them really surprised us. For example:

Tyler the Sea Lion was splashing 2,000 gallons of water out of his tank…per day (to Allen’s dismay). Tyler is the star of the sea lion dolphin show, so selling or giving Tyler away probably wasn’t an option. Instead, they put in a drain to collect the water and pump it back into Tyler’s tank. Tyler now splashes happily ever after with no water wasted. Below is a video of Tyler performing some amazing tricks. He was awesome!

We were also surprised to know that only 54% of the water is for animals. The other 46% is for people! The picture below shows  just one way the Shedd helps conserve water for human use.

Once all this water is used, the Shedd partially cleans it to prevent the waste water treatment plant from being strained and to help keep the water from becoming contaminated by algae and bacteria from exotic species .

We concluded that that all the water at the Shedd is for people. We’re the ones that built the aquarium in 1930. We’re the ones that want to spend hours and hours looking at animals. 2.1 million people per year visit the Shedd Aquarium. This is for us!  So we’re happy to know the Shedd is working so hard to conserve water and keep it clean.

Conserving water is all of our responsibility, and you don’t have to be an awesome expert like Allen to save water.

Here are some tips how you can be a water hero:

Find out about your local water laws. Could you use rainwater or grey water to to water your lawn?

Water early morning or early evening.

Take 5 minute showers.

Look into low flow toilets, shower heads, and washing machines.

P.S. The Shedd doesn’t use pesticides. They pick their weeds because they don’t want to pollute Lake Michigan. After all, the staff, visitors and animals use that water to live!

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