Metropolitan, Local Water Agencies Give Schools $78,000 Toward Water Education Program

Congressman Dreier, Rancho Cucamonga Students to Receive Tasty Water Lesson

An aerator here, a low-flow showerhead there--both are little changes that can add up to a lesson in household water efficiency.

Now, thanks to a total of $78,000 in grants from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Inland Empire Utilities Agency and Three Valleys Municipal Water District, it's a lesson that will reach several thousand fifth- and sixth-grade students in east Los Angeles County and west San Bernardino County.

U.S. Rep. David Dreier (R-Covina) today joined MWD Director Wyatt Troxel, who represents IEUA on Metropolitan's board of directors, and MWD Chief Executive Officer Ronald R. Gastelum in presenting a check to the National Energy Foundation and local school officials during a ceremony at Valle Vista Elementary School in Rancho Cucamonga.

"It is so important for us to teach our children that water is a precious resource," said Congressman Dreier, whose district straddles Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties and includes the cities of Rancho Cucamonga, Upland and Chino.

"Conservation is one of the most important things we can do and it's easy. This program will teach kids just how easy it is," Dreier said.

During the ceremony, Dreier joined about 30 students in one of their first lessons about water by building "groundwater aquifers" using kid-friendly ingredients -- ice cream, cookies, soda and candy -- to represent layers of sand, gravel, water and soil.

Metropolitan's $20,000 contribution through its Community Partnering Program, along with a $35,000 grant from Three Valleys and $23,000 from IEUA, will support the National Energy Foundation's "Learning to be WaterWise" program. The program combines 17 classroom activities with six hands-on retrofit and household audit projects that students perform with their families in their homes.

The program calls for students to conduct audits and determine how much water they use in and around their homes. They will improve the water use efficiency by installing water-saving devices -- such as faucet aerators and low-flow showerheads -- provided by the NEF.

Troxel said the goal is to educate both the students and parents on the benefits and wisdom of water efficiency. It's a message vitally important to the sponsoring agencies, which are charged with delivering limited resources to an ever-growing Southern California.

"Our two-year-old Community Partnering Program encourages the discussion of water quality, water conservation and water reliability issues important to the region by supporting research, educational collaborations at all levels and policy forums," Troxel said.

The Community Partnering Program helps Metropolitan fulfill its mission by making Southern Californians more aware of water issues through a variety of educational and research programs.

Gastelum said the partnering program allows Metropolitan to work closely with its member agencies to support the communities the district helps serve.

"Partnership with local member agencies and other entities is critical to our success. The more Southern Californians know about water, the more they will understand and appreciate the challenges of water supply issues in our naturally desert-like area," Gastelum said.

"This will play a part in meeting our future water demands," said Rick Hansen, Three Valleys general manager, about the education program. "We greatly appreciate the opportunity to work with MWD and the leadership that they've provided. This is the start of what needs to be accomplished throughout our school and the entire MWD service area."

This year, Metropolitan will distribute more than $450,000 in grants and in-kind services to programs that demonstrate a value-added benefit to the district and its 26 member public agencies.

Under the CPP, sponsorships are provided for water-related activities such as public forums, educational and research programs, exhibits and other community-based events. Memberships in national, state, regional and local associations that support MWD's corporate and mission statements also are eligible, as well as educational mini-grants and innovative conservation pilot programs.


Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

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