What Edison Intermediate/Larson Middle School students learned about how much water Americans use and waste -- and how little time it would take to run out in an emergency -- may require one to take a sip of water to settle the nerves.

During a recent visit to Columbus' Dublin Road Water Plant, students learned that if a natural or man-made emergency shut down the water supply, Grandview Heights would run out of water in 15 to 20 minutes.

"I don't think people realize how little water they would have if something bad happened," said seventh-grader Nathan Reese.

Nathan and the eight other members of the Compton's Crew FIRST Lego League team have researched several issues relating to water supply and conservation as part of this year's Lego League project.

The theme for the 2017-18 Lego League competition is "The Human Water Cycle and Solving a Hydrodynamic Challenge."

"At first, we talked about doing a project about desalination, but since there aren't any oceans in Ohio, we decided to come up with another idea," said sixth-grader Vivian Chute.

For this year's challenge, Lego League teams must build, test and program an autonomous robot to complete a set of missions in the Lego League robot game.

Teams had to design and program their robot to complete tasks such as replacing a broken pipe and flushing a toilet, eighth-grader Perry Mohr said.

"The thing is, your robot has to do all the tasks in no more than 2 minutes and 30 seconds," he said.

Teams also are judged on a project in which they study and suggest a solution to a real-world problem.

Compton's Crew is putting together a pamphlet that will offer residents information about water supply and tips for preparing themselves in case the city's supply is halted.

"We'll be distributing the pamphlet with the help of Boy Scout Troop 73," Nathan said.

At the water plant on Dublin Road, students learned how water is purified before it arrives at Grandview's homes, fifth-grader Quinn Markle said.

"You don't realize how dirty the water is before they clean it up," he said.

Fifth-grader Daria Shirazi said the unpurified river water she observed in the giant tubes at the water plant was "disgusting."

"You look at the water in the river and you think it's all clean and pure," she said, "but when you actually see it, you find out just how dirty it is and how much they have to do to make it safe for us to drink."

"What really surprised us was finding out how much water per person is used every day in our country," Quinn said.

On average, each American uses about 100 gallons of water daily, Daria said.

"That includes everything: taking a bath, flushing the toilet, brushing your teeth, cooking and washing your hands. It really adds up," she said.

"People don't realize how much they use water without thinking about it," sixth-grader Madeline Palmisciano said.

Older-model toilets can use up to 5 gallons per flush, she said.

"Finding out about how much water we use, it's made me think more about how I'm using water," Madeline said. "I'm trying to find ways to cut down how much water I'm using."

Residents should make sure they have an adequate supply of water on hand in case the public water supply isn't available, Nathan said.

"I did a little bit of research and found that they recommend you have a three-day supply of water for every person in your household and for your pets," Quinn said.

That comes out to about 1 to 1 1/2 gallons of water per person per day.

"You want to make sure the bottled water you have doesn't have an expiration date," Quinn said.

Water from the tap can be stored, but should be used within 60 days, Nathan said.

Rainwater can be collected and made safe by boiling it or using iodine pills, he said.

After completing their research, students talked about other actions Grandview could take to help make sure its residents would have sufficient drinking water, seventh-grader Griffin Rosinski said.

"We thought that maybe Grandview could dig a couple of wells that could collect rainwater," he said. "You could put one at the Grandview Yard and maybe another one at the fire department."

Grandview does not have enough space to build a water tower, Griffin said. A well would replenish itself over time from rainwater, he said.

Residents could be instructed on how to make the well water safe to drink, he said.

Compton's Crew is one of several Lego League teams at Edison/Larson. Other members of Compton's Crew are Alasdair Schlesinger and Olivia Rutter.

The school will host a district Lego League tournament Saturday, Nov. 18, with about 16 teams expected to participate.

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