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Poster contest winning artists Aria Drelich and Maia McAllum with OMWD Board President Christy Guerin. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

OMWD Names Winners of the 2024 Water Awareness Poster Contest

Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s Board of Directors recognized its top three entries in the 2024 North County Water Agencies Water Awareness Poster Contest at its May board meeting.

The theme for the 2024 contest was “Love Water, Save Water.” The contest teaches students the value of water as a limited resource and the importance of using it wisely while providing OMWD with locally produced artwork to reinforce this message to its customers.

Clara Brigden from Olivenhain Pioneer Elementary School, Aria Drelich from Stone Ranch Elementary School, and Maia McAllum from La Costa Heights Elementary School submitted the winning entries.

Fourth-grade students attending schools in OMWD’s service area participated in this year’s competition.

Winning posters

Poster contest winning artwork created by Clara Brigden from Olivenhain Pioneer Elementary School. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

Poster contest winning artwork created by Clara Brigden from Olivenhain Pioneer Elementary School. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

Clara’s poster showcases rain falling on planet Earth as it floats on the ocean under a rainbow and states, “Be kind and save water.”

Poster contest winning artwork created by Aria Drelich from Stone Ranch Elementary School. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

Poster contest winning artwork created by Aria Drelich from Stone Ranch Elementary School. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

Aria’s poster features the phrase “save our water to help our Earth grow” under a rainbow and a faucet flowing water into hands.

Poster contest winning artwork created by Maia McAllum from La Costa Heights Elementary School. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

Poster contest winning artwork created by Maia McAllum from La Costa Heights Elementary School. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

Maia’s poster depicts a large faucet with water flowing onto planet Earth, with floating hearts and the statement “grateful for water.

Poster contest encourages sustainable water future

“Engaging our young community members lays the foundation for a sustainable water future,” said OMWD Board Vice President Matthew Hahn. “The student artwork not only reflects an appreciation for this precious resource but also reminds us all to protect our water supply for generations to come.”

This year marks the 31st year of the annual Water Awareness Poster Contest. The recognized posters will be featured in a 2025 Water Awareness Calendar.

A pioneering education partnership inspires students regionwide to pursue careers in the water and wastewater industry. Photo: San Diego County Office of Education

Education Partnership Inspires Future Water Leaders 

The San Diego County Water Authority and San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) have embarked on a pioneering education partnership to inspire students regionwide to pursue careers in the water and wastewater industry. This new program is the latest initiative in a long history of regional education outreach reaching hundreds of thousands of students in the last two decades.  

At the Innovation Center in Linda Vista, SDCOE hosts groups of students, many of whom come from underserved and underrepresented communities, for weeklong innovation programs. These programs are designed to help students identify their individual strengths through an assessment, which highlights several strength areas: Realistic (R), Investigative (I), Artistic (A), Social (S), Enterprising (E), and Conventional (C).

Priority Career Sectors Critical to Region’s Economic Future 

Students are grouped into teams that have complementary strengths to work together on water-related activities and learn about possible water industry career paths. Photo: San Diego County Office of Education education partnership

Students are grouped into teams that have complementary strengths to work together on water-related activities and learn about possible water industry career paths. Photo: San Diego County Office of Education

“At the Linda Vista Innovation Center, we aim to inspire kids to find their strengths, interests, and values and match those with San Diego Workforce Partnership priority sector careers,” said Dr. Matthew Tessier, Assistant Superintendent of Innovation at the San Diego County Office of Education. “Partnerships with organizations like the San Diego County Water Authority are crucial to our mission, and we look forward to working together to build a brighter future for all.”

These programs give students a glimpse into the opportunities available in various industries, many of which are on the San Diego Workforce Partnership’s priority list. The industries on the list are critical to the region’s economy and will need to hire substantial numbers of capable new employees in the foreseeable future.  

Education Partnership Informs Students About Water Industry Careers 

The Innovation Center also supports SDCOE’s goals to significantly reduce the number of students living in poverty and reduce overall unemployment in the region over the next decade. By matching students with potential career paths and inspiring them to lean into their strengths early on, thousands of students from elementary to high school leave the program knowing about opportunities that they may not have known about otherwise.

Organizations like the Water Authority and its member agencies benefit from generations of students becoming interested in water-related careers, which are essential to the region’s economy and quality of life.  

Six San DIego County students will have their artwork featured in the annual "Water Is Life" calendar for 2024.

San Diego County Student Artwork Featured in 2024 Calendar

Six San Diego County student artists from four member water agencies are among the 37 Southern California students whose artwork will appear in the 2024 “Being Water Wise Is… ” Student Art Calendar.

The “Being Water Wise Is… ” Student Art Calendar is produced annually by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. It showcases student artwork illustrating important water conservation messages in a visual way. Water agencies submit artwork for consideration among the winners of their local competitions. This year, 26 Southern California water agencies submitted 234 entries.

The inspiring artwork and artists were recognized during a virtual awards event on Thursday, December 14. MWD Board Chairman Adán Ortega, Jr. thanked the students, their family and friends, and the many educators who support the annual contest.

Ortega Jr. told the winning students, “You are truly extraordinary and helping us to see water in new ways and bringing us greater appreciation for its value to our daily lives, and to our society overall.

“Thousands of people will see the calendar that will be published, celebrating winning entries, and learn from it as well.”

South Bay Represented by Otay and Sweetwater Winners

Student artwork from winners in the Otay Water District and Sweetwater Authority are featured on the August 2024 page.

Student artwork from winners in the Otay Water District and Sweetwater Authority are featured on the August 2024 page.

Artwork created by Sophia Garvida, a seventh-grade Bonita Vista Middle School student, was selected for the calendar. Sophia represents the Otay Water District and won first place in the middle school category in the district’s service area competition.

Fifth grader Sofia Cardenas Loera, who attends the STEAM Academy in the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District, will also have her winning artwork in the calendar after winning the local competition.

“These two talented students used their artistic skills to share an important conservation message and illustrate the value of using water wisely. All of us at the Otay Water District are proud to have their creativity represent the district,” said Eileen Salmeron, communications assistant and poster contest coordinator.

Alondra Contreras Olvera, a third-grade student at Allen Elementary School, represents Sweetwater Authority in the calendar. The three South Bay student posters are on the August 2024 page.

East County Winners From Helix and Padre Dam

Catalina Jones is a second time winner.

Catalina Jones is a second-time winner.

Catalina Raquel Jones, is a talented seventh grade student at La Mesa Arts Academy whose artwork represents the Helix Water District in the 2024 calendar. Catalina is a second-time winner. Her artwork was also selected last year when she was a sixth-grade student at Lemon Avenue Elementary School.

Cameron Kovar is the second winner from the Helix Water District. student artwork

Cameron Kovar is the second winner from the Helix Water District.

Cameryn Kovar, who attends St. Martin of Tours Academy-La Mesa and is also in seventh grade, is the second Helix Water District student whose artwork will appear in the calendar. The Helix winners are on the July 2024 page.

Hayley Novotny's winning student artwork represents the Padre Dam Municipal Water District in the 2024 calendar.

Hayley Novotny’s winning student artwork represents the Padre Dam Municipal Water District in the 2024 calendar.

Hayley Novotny, a fifth-grade student at Cajon Park School in Santee, represents the Padre Dam Municipal Water District. Her artwork is on the December 2024 page of the calendar.

Conservation message delivered through artistic expression

The “Water is Life” Student Art Calendar was created 35 years ago. It selects student art submitted from kindergarten through grade 12 to help convey water conservation messages. The annual calendar is distributed to 13,000 recipients each year.

Artwork from the student winners will remain on display at Metropolitan’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters in January. The traveling artwork will visit member agencies throughout the year. View the entire calendar here.

 

 

Supes to Approve Letter on Increased Water Rates

Imperial County Board of Supervisors are expected to approve a letter expressing concerns of high water rates affecting Calipatria and Niland residents on Tuesdsay.

Tuesday’s agenda includes an item to approve a letter to be submitted to the California Public Utilities Commission regarding the high cost of water services provided by Golden State Water Company, or GSWC, in the communities of Calipatria and Niland.

Water News Network Best Public Service Website for Sixth Year at San Diego Press Club Awards

For the sixth consecutive year, the San Diego County Water Authority’s Water News Network website was recognized as the Best Public Service/Consumer Advocacy Website. The Water News Network was awarded for its public outreach and education at the San Diego Press Club’s 50th annual Excellence in Journalism Awards.

Walnut Students Partner With Water District to Promote Water-Saving Technology

Returning middle and high school students in Walnut are adding an extra item to their agendas – helping members of their community monitor their home’s water usage.

Dubbed Project Bright, the students earn community service hours by engaging with the public over the environmental and fiscal benefits of more efficient water usage.

Students Recognized For Conservation Art, Scholarship Excellence by Vallecitos Water District

The Vallecitos Water District Board of Directors recognized students from district area schools for their excellence in the classroom in two separate contests: poster art for fourth graders and an essay competition for scholarships.

Scholarships were issued to local students by the Vallecitos Water District to help them continue their higher education. (L to R): Board Vice President Tiffany Boyd-Hodgson, scholarship winners Phlavia Oyrem, Caitlyn Hansen, and Julianna Stipica-Kelecic, Board President Jim Hernandez, scholarship winners Daniel Baza, Evan Fox, and Board Member Erik A. Groset. Not pictured: Board Members Craig Elitharp and Jim Pennock, scholarship winner Brook Sannella. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Students Recognized For Conservation Art, Scholarship Excellence by Vallecitos Water District

The Vallecitos Water District Board of Directors recognized students from district area schools for their excellence in the classroom in two separate contests: poster art for fourth graders and an essay competition for scholarships.

Students who compete for a scholarship must complete an essay and provide a personal statement related to their background and/or goals. The annual contest is open to students living or attending schools within the Vallecitos Water District service area and is intended to increase the knowledge and awareness of water-related issues affecting the region.

Six students were selected to receive $1,000 college scholarship: Phlavia Oyrem, La Jolla High School, who plans to attend Palomar College; Brook Sannella, San Marcos High School, who plans to attend UCSD; Daniel Baza, Evan Fox, and Caitlyn Hansen, who all attend Palomar College; and Julianna Stipica-Kelecic, who attends Cal State San Marcos and Palomar College.

Baza, Fox, Hansen, and Oyrem all plan to pursue water studies and water industry careers. Fox completed a Spring 2023 Internship with Vallecitos Water District while attending Palomar College.

Oyrem was selected as the Fall 2023 Intern with Vallecitos when she attends Palomar this fall.

Fourth graders promote water conservation through art

Double Peak K-8 fourth-grade student Natalie Clark of San Marcos win first place in the Vallecitos District’s 2023 Water Awareness Poster Contest. Photo: Vallecitos Water District student recognized

Double Peak K-8 fourth-grade student Natalie Clark of San Marcos win first place in the Vallecitos District’s 2023 Water Awareness Poster Contest. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Love Water, Save Water

In addition, three fourth-grade students from the local community were named winners of the district’s annual student poster art contest. The poster contest, which focuses on students in the fourth grade, is designed to promote understanding of water issues in elementary schools.

This year’s theme was “Love Water, Save Water.”  The three winning posters were selected from all entries based on their depiction of the theme, artwork, originality, and poster design. The winning posters will appear in the 2024 Water Awareness Calendar, available for free at the district’s office starting in December 2023.

First Place: Natalie Clark of San Marcos. Photo: Vallecitos Water District students recognized

First Place: Natalie Clark of San Marcos. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Double Peak K-8 fourth-grade student Natalie Clark of San Marcos, age 10, received first place in the Vallecitos District’s 2023 Water Awareness Poster Contest. Her teacher is Abby Lyon. Natalie wrote about her entry, “I love water because we can’t live without it, and when I touch, see, smell the water, I feel connected.”

Mikaela Fuentes, second place. Photo: Vallecitos Water District student recognized

Mikaela Fuentes, second place. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Mikaela Fuentes of Baypoint Academy, age 9, received second-place. Mikaela wrote about water: “It keeps us alive and is the source of all living things and animals.”

Grant Neum, third place. Photo: Vallecitos Water DIstrict students recognized

Grant Neum, third place. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Grant Neum, also from Baypoint Academy, age 9, placed third. Grant wrote he loves water “Because water helps the world grow.”

(Editor’s note: The Vallecitos Water District is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the San Diego County region.) 

Citizens Water Academy Returns for Summer 2023

On June 27, the San Diego County Water Authority kicked off its first Citizens Water Academy since 2020, when COVID-19 forced a shutdown of the program. The academy offers attendees the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the Water Authority’s life-sustaining mission.

Participants learn firsthand about critical water issues affecting the region and go behind the scenes with water planners, managers, and engineers for an inside look at the water delivery system.

The San Diego County Water Authority’s award-winning Citizens Water Academy kicked off its first class since 2020. Participants are at the top of Olivenhain Dam. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

Citizens Water Academy Returns for Summer 2023

On June 27, the San Diego County Water Authority kicked off its first Citizens Water Academy since 2020, when COVID-19 forced a shutdown of the program. The academy offers attendees the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the Water Authority’s life-sustaining mission.

Participants learn firsthand about critical water issues affecting the region and go behind the scenes with water planners, managers, and engineers for an inside look at the water delivery system.

Citizens Water Academy-Olivenhain Dam-San Diego County Water Authority-education

Citizens Water Academy participants at the base of Olivenhain Dam. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority.

Building leaders in water

The Water Academy is geared toward civic and business leaders. This year’s class was held in three sessions starting on June 27 with a welcome and Water Authority overview by Acting General Manager Dan Denham.

Session two took place on July 12 with dinner and presentations about “Planning for a Water Resilient Future” with Jeff Stephenson, acting director of the Water Resources Department. A final session took place on July 15, and included presentations by Operations and Maintenance Department leaders, tours of the regional water delivery control room and emergency operations center, a tour of Olivenhain Dam, and a graduation ceremony.

Class participants come from a wide range of backgrounds and professions. They include elected official representatives, retail water agency staff, Water Authority board members, and civic and business leaders from across the region.

“Despite our lack of natural resources, it’s easy to take our safe, reliable supply of water for granted,” said Acting General Manager Dan Denham. “We turn on the faucet and there’s the water, ready to be transformed into our morning cup of coffee. But how that water gets from point A to point B is an astounding work of engineering and strategic planning. The Water Academy is all about connecting our community to this intricate world.”

Award-winning program

The Citizens Water Academy launched in fall 2014. Over the years, 99% of participants said they would recommend the Water Academy to a colleague, and nearly 50% of graduates engaged in the Water Authority’s alumni network.

The Water Authority was honored with the Silver Bernays Mark of Excellence Award for the Citizens Water Academy from the San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America in 2015. The program also won the Communications Initiative Award from the San Diego Section of the American Planning Association in 2016.

Water Authority staff are excited to bring this important program back to the community after a three-year pause due to the pandemic and look forward to hosting additional classes in the future. Information about future class dates will be posted here. The webpage also includes an interest form and nomination form for future Water Academy classes.