Escondido, Calif. – In the last several years, water bottles have become commonplace on school campuses as students learned the importance water plays with maintaining good health. However, keeping those water bottles filled throughout the day has been tough, since traditional drinking fountains are not designed for this purpose. So, the Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District (Rincon Water) partnered with the Escondido Union School District to install water bottle refill stations, also known as hydration stations, at three Escondido elementary school campuses – Bernardo, Miller, and North Broadway. All three schools receive Rincon Water through their taps.
Eighteen talented San Diego, Coronado and Imperial Beach elementary school students used their artistic skills to communicate the importance of water conservation in the City of San Diego’s Public Utilities Department 18th annual Kids Poster Contest.
Winning entries in the contest are featured in the 2019 Water Conservation Calendar, which debuts this month. They are available free for pickup at San Diego city libraries, recreation centers, and at San Diego City Hall, 202 C Street downtown.
The theme “How Am I A Water Conservation Hero?” asked students to imagine themselves saving water from being wasted. They could draw, paint, color, cut and paste original artwork depicting one important message about water conservation. Winning students were honored at a City Council presentation in 2018, and their artwork was featured publicly at the San Diego County Fair and San Diego Watercolor Society Gallery.
“The City of San Diego’s Public Utilities Department is proud to sponsor the yearly Kids Poster Contest,” said Brian Hojnacki, a supervising management analyst for city utilities. “It allows us to involve first to sixth graders through art while learning and thinking about water conservation in our region. It’s a win-win for us all.”
In addition to being recognized as community ambassadors and local conservation celebrities, winners received gift cards as prizes and publication in the new calendar. The winning posters will be displayed throughout the City of San Diego all year.
The contest winners for 2018 whose artwork was used to create the 2019 calendar are:
1st Place – Ruiya Xia, Solana Ranch Elementary School
2nd Place – Isabella Chen, Solana Ranch Elementary School
3rd Place – Angela Han, Solana Ranch Elementary School
1st Place – Weiyi Liu, Stone Ranch Elementary School
2nd Place – Ella Zhao, Monterey Ridge Elementary School
3rd Place – Tracie Liu, Sycamore Ridge School
1st Place – Rachael Ma, Monterey Ridge Elementary School
2nd Place – Alanis Huang, Solana Ranch Elementary School
3rd Place – Kate Hu, Solana Ranch Elementary School
1st Place – Lauren Chen, Monterey Ridge Elementary School
2nd Place – Abigail Wei, Monterey Ridge Elementary School
3rd Place – Caden Phan, Hardy Elementary School
1st Place – Claire Zhang, Solana Pacific Elementary School
2nd Place – Angela Chen, Monterey Ridge Elementary School
3rd Place – Annika Liao, Del Sur Elementary School
1st Place – Madeleine Irawan, Black Mountain Middle School
2nd Place – Eric Shi, Mesa Verde Middle School
3rd Place – Vicky Xu, Solana Ranch Elementary School
Recycled Water Category Winner
1st Place – Katelyn Chen, Oak Valley Elementary
The 19th annual poster competition for the next calendar is now open to students from first through sixth grade. The theme is “Where Can I Catch The Rain, and What Can I Do With It?”
Winning posters will be featured in the 2020 Water Conservation Calendar. Winners will be honored at a San Diego City Council meeting and have their work displayed at the San Diego County Fair and in the San Diego Watercolor Society Gallery. The entry deadline is March 22, 2019. More information is here.
Fourth-graders from five Fallbrook-area elementary schools put pens, crayons and watercolors to work with the goal of creating the best and brightest water-conservation posters in competition to become part of the 2019 Fallbrook Public Utility District’s “Be Water Smart” calendar.
Two hundred posters demonstrated the students’ enthusiasm and creativity. Out of these entries, 14 were honored in the 2019 calendar.
The free calendars are available at the Fallbrook Public Utility District office, 990 E. Mission Road in Fallbrook, during business hours while supplies last.
The pupils’ colorful images vividly depict the contest’s theme, “Be Water Smart.” The district’s panel of judges viewed all the entries to find the most eye-catching artwork that successfully communicated the need for saving water.
Winners recognized at Fallbrook PUD board meeting
The winning fourth-grade artists were recognized at the Fallbrook PUD board of directors meeting on Dec. 10. In addition to being featured in the calendar, each winning artist was presented with their original artwork matted and framed for them to keep. They also received a signed certificate of commendation from the district, along with prizes such as school supplies and gift cards.
As a special award, the first-, second- and third-place student artists, plus the cover artist, received a personalized T-shirt with their winning artwork printed on it. Those artists are:
First place: America Perez Martinez, Fallbrook STEM Academy
Second place: Stephania Miranda, Maie Ellis Elementary
Third place: Hudson Quinn, Maie Ellis Elementary
Cover artist: Gabriel Velasco, La Paloma Elementary
Additional monthly winners include Magaly Maldonado, Magdaleny Caralampio, Antonio Jesus, Maria Ordonez-Rodriguez, Mariana Jimenez and America Giles of Maie Ellis Elementary; Jordyn Jones of William H. Frazier Elementary; Connor Siegler, Lexie Graves and Wendy Sanchez Hernandez of La Paloma Elementary.
The annual contest is open only to fourth-graders in the FPUD service area after they complete classroom instruction about water conservation and the water cycle. Students attending Fallbrook STEM Academy, William H. Frazier, La Paloma, Maie Ellis and Live Oak elementary schools submitted entries.
All 14 pieces of artwork will be displayed on the FPUD website. They will also be displayed in the FPUD boardroom through 2019.
Fallbrook, Calif. – Kate Calhoun, a junior at Fallbrook High, spent most of her summer Tuesday mornings at the Fallbrook Public Utility District as the district’s first paid summer intern. Now that school is back in session, she is back in class and recently finished her final task for the district.
The final part of her eight-week internship was spent creating a PowerPoint presentation for the board of directors at the Aug. 27 board meeting. In that presentation, she highlighted what she learned during her experience and how she will put that new knowledge to work.
“This introduced me to possible careers I was not aware of,” Calhoun said.
Encinitas, CA—Olivenhain Municipal Water District is encouraging local high school and college students to enter California Special Districts Association’s Districts Make the Difference video contest for a chance to win a scholarship of up to $2,000. Aspiring filmmakers can create a 60-second video telling the story of a special district, such as Olivenhain Municipal Water District, which increases public awareness and understanding of the services California’s special districts provide to residents.
The transformation of Cuyamaca College’s trailblazing Water and Wastewater Technology Program into the Center for Water Studies is all but complete. Among the premier water and wastewater training facilities in California, the Center for Water Studies relocated in late August to a renovated complex complete with new classrooms, a water quality analysis laboratory and a workshop for back flow, cross-connection controls, and related skills-based courses. The complex sits next to a state-of-the-art field operations skills yard that opened in January, with an above-ground water distribution system and an underground wastewater collection system.
Audrey and Alfred Vargas are trying to expand access to clean drinking water one drop at a time.
The brother and sister duo, who live in National City and attend Sweetwater High School, have been refining a portable, low-cost, easy-to-use, simple-to-construct system that efficiently desalinates brackish water.
“We see it as one of many possible solutions that can help solve the water crisis occurring throughout the world today,” said Audrey Vargas, 15.
Their endeavor is garnering growing attention. At the Greater San Diego Science & Engineering Fair, their project – Solar Desalination Using a Parabolic Trough – secured the top Senior Division award from the San Diego County Water Authority.
Water Authority promotes innovation in students
The Water Authority has sponsored the Science & Engineering Fair for decades, and the Water Authority’s Board of Directors recognized Audrey and Alfred at its April 12 meeting, along with five other top water-related projects from the science fair.
Board member Frank Hilliker interviewed the Vargas team at the science fair and was impressed with their work. “The fact that they were able to take such a complex challenge and find a solution that seems so easy and without having to spend a lot of money was remarkable,” he said. “There are no computers, no electronics, no fuel involved. It’s a fascinating way to provide clean, reliable drinking water for people who don’t have access to clean water.”
Besides the Water Authority award, the siblings also won a Scripps Institute of Oceanography Climate Science Award, and their work was honored by the WateReuse Association (San Diego Regional Chapter) and the California Environmental Health Association – Southwest Chapter/San Diego County, Department of Environmental Health. They compete in the California State Science & Engineering Fair competition on April 23 and 24 at Exposition Park in Los Angeles.
Students set sights on solving global problem
Audrey and Alfred aspire to see their device used in impoverished communities around the world that don’t have reliable sources of drinking water.
“My sister and I live in a very modest community, and we see people who are living in poverty every day,” said Alfred. “This is a cost-effective and simple solution that can help anyone have access to a basic necessity.”
Alfred and Audrey have been entering science fairs since they were middle schoolers and Alfred has been refining the desalination project for the past three years. Alfred and Audrey note that a pivotal manner of obtaining freshwater is by distilling seawater. But that can be a costly and time-consuming process. Their portable, parabolic desalination device, however, can efficiently purify brackish water through a simple yet complex process that uses PVC pipes, a copper tube, and the sun.
Sofia Sandoval, a chemistry teacher at Sweetwater High School who advised the students, said Alfred and Audrey are destined for greatness. Indeed, Alfred aspires to attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology and work as a chemical engineer. Audrey is determined to gain acceptance to Harvard, UC Berkeley, and Stanford en route to a career enforcing environmental regulations.
“Alfred and Audrey are not the typical high school students who were interested in conducting a cookie cutter science fair project,” Sandoval said. “They have bigger dreams. They came to science fair orientation meeting with a firm belief that humans have a moral obligation to help humanity. They, themselves, feel obliged to enter careers that allow them to directly help humans.
“This conviction, along with Audrey’s environmental passion and Alfred’s engineering mind, drove them to their project topic selection. I think this project embodies exactly what our next generation scientists and innovators should focus on, namely a multi-dimensional approach to solving world problems.”