Students in the Chula Vista Elementary School District learned about the science of hydroelectric power during their most recent Innovation LIVE! event. The online lesson, “Water + Wheel = Power!” was led by CVESD’s Hydro Station on December 2.
The Hydro Station opened nearly four years ago at the Richard A. Reynolds Groundwater Desalination Facility. A unique joint educational partnership between the Sweetwater Authority, the Otay Water District, and CVESD, the Hydro Station was the first program of its kind to to open in California.
Nearly 4,000 students visit the Hydro Station annually and learn about careers and opportunities in the water and wastewater industry through hands-on interactive learning experiences.
Future water leaders
The need for future water leaders is great and continues to grow. One-third of the region’s 2,800 water and wastewater professionals will be eligible for retirement in the next few years. The Hydro Station helps play a role to encourage students to consider careers as professionals in the water industry.
“The water industry offers many exciting career opportunities,” said Sweetwater Authority General Manager Carlos Quintero. “Through our partnership with the Hydro Station, we are proud to be helping share these opportunities and inspire the next generation of water professionals.”
Hands-on projects using everyday materials
During the online event, students were invited to build their own water wheel and take on the role of a plant maintenance technician to learn from firsthand experience. All of Hydro Station’s online live event projects can be accomplished with common household materials, such as empty plastic water bottles, scissors, straws, tape, and a bucket of water. These projects can be done individually, with partners, or in groups.
The online events are free and open to all students, parents, and families. Lessons are recorded and become part of an extensive library of instructional videos on CVESD’s Innovation & Instruction YouTube channel.
“Together, we get to learn and explore a variety of topics that are all related to water,” said CVESD District Innovation Teacher and project leader Christy Bystrak. “Today, we want to see how we can use the power of water to make a machine move and create energy.”
Previous Hydro Station events and topics have included building water pipelines, protecting watersheds, groundwater, and exploring careers in civil engineering.
In addition to water-related topics, CVESD offers interactive lessons on coastal education, health, technology, and clean energy.
“The Hydro Station effort is an essential part of educating our youth about the wide variety of water industry jobs available to them as they prepare for their futures,” said Otay General Manager Jose Martinez. “Because many in the industry are retiring, we continue to recruit and promote water careers. This educational program is an additional resource to help us to increase the talent pool in the industry.”
See their entire lineup of instructional videos on YouTube here.
(Editor’s note: The Otay Water District and the Sweetwater Authority are two of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across San Diego County.)