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Sweetwater Authority Wins Statewide Award for Hydro Station Education Experience

The Sweetwater Authority Governing Board on July 22 was presented with the California Association of Public Information Officials Award of Distinction for excellence in public information and communications. The water agency received the award earlier this month for its innovative communication for the Hydro Station Education Experience.

The Sweetwater Authority received CAPIO's EPIC Award earlier this month for its innovative communication for the Hydro Station Education Experience. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

Sweetwater Authority and Otay Water District Win Statewide Award for Hydro Station Education Experience

The Sweetwater Authority Governing Board on July 22 was presented with the California Association of Public Information Officials Award of Distinction for excellence in public information and communications. As a collaborative project with the Chula Vista Elementary School District, the Sweetwater Authority and the Otay Water District received the award from CAPIO earlier this month for innovative communications for the Hydro Station Education Experience.

The Hydro Station at Sweetwater’s Richard A. Reynolds Groundwater Desalination Facility,  hosts learning exhibits and hands-on activities to introduce 4,000 local students annually to the ecological cycle of water, water conservation, water quality, and careers in the water industry. The Hydro Station is made possible through a partnership between the Sweetwater Authority, Chula Vista Elementary School District, and the Otay Water District.

Hydro Station Education Experience opened in August 2019

Chula Vista fifth graders enjoy their first visit to the new Hydro Station educational facility. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

Chula Vista fifth graders enjoy their visit to the new Hydro Station educational facility. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

“It is exciting to be on a Board that values the importance of strategic partnerships,” said Governing Board Chair Steve Castaneda. “We are working with the Chula Vista Elementary School District and the Otay Water District to provide educational opportunities for students in our service area and to expose local children to a career path that could position them as tomorrow’s water leaders.”

The program opened in August 2019 after months of planning and collaboration with its partners.

The Authority’s Communications Committee Chair, José F. Cerda, is a long-time advocate of the partnership.

“As a former Chula Vista Elementary School District educator, I have seen the impacts that these sort of innovative classroom experiences can have on students and their families,” said Cerda. “I am so proud of the work that we are doing at the Authority and being an industry leader in creating and developing experiences for the children in our community.”

The Hydro Station will resume in a virtual format for students in the Chula Vista Elementary School District next month.

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Hydro Station Joins Virtual ‘Innovation Week’ May 26-29

The Chula Vista Elementary School District’s “Innovation Week 2020” from May 26 to 29 will make a virtue of going virtual, inviting the community to participate along with its students in four live science education events. The activities include a Hydro Station lesson about groundwater aquifers.

Chula Vista Elementary students will explore science during "Innovation Week 2020." Photo: Chula Vista Elementary School District

Hydro Station Joins Virtual ‘Innovation Week’ May 26-29

The Chula Vista Elementary School District’s “Innovation Week 2020” from May 26 to 29 will make a virtue of going virtual, inviting the community to participate along with its students in four live science education events. The activities include a Hydro Station lesson about groundwater aquifers.

The Hydro Station is an interactive educational space at the Richard A. Reynolds Groundwater Desalination Facility, operated as a joint partnership between the school district, the Otay Water District, and the Sweetwater Authority.

“We’re proud that the school district can continue offering its programs at a time that’s needed now more than ever,” says Tenille Otero, Otay Water District communications officer. “Even better, is that anyone outside of the school district can experience these wonderful programs that the district offers.”

Live interactive events for students and public

“We are very excited to bring our innovative learning experiences to the San Diego region and beyond through these live, online events,” said Michael Bruder, instructional services coordinator with the Chula Vista Elementary School District. “We are also grateful to have the support of our wonderful community partners in making this happen.”

All live sessions start at 1 p.m. and will be hosted on the Microsoft Teams platform. The sessions are free and open to the public to join.

Treats teach kids about groundwater on May 28

The Hydro Station is an interactive educational space at the Richard A. Reynolds Groundwater Desalination Facility, operated as a joint partnership between the Chula Vista Elementary School District, the Otay Water District, and the Sweetwater Authority. Photo: Otay Water District

On Thursday, May 28, at 1 p.m. Hydro Station instructor Christy Bystrak will lead “Building an Edible Aquifer.”

Participants will learn about the geology of an aquifer including confining layers, contamination, recharge, and water tables, while constructing their own version using items found at home in the kitchen, including clear plastic cups, straws, food coloring, soda, ice cream, and different types of small candy or cereal.

Additional presentations include “Engineering Superhero Tech,” “Cooking Up S’More Energy,” and “Structures for Survival.”

Located in southern San Diego County, the Chula Vista Elementary School District’s 46 schools serve more than 29,600 students. Schools serve a vibrant, diverse community that features a blend of residential areas, recreational facilities, open space, and light industry.

CVESD offers innovative partnerships such as the Hydro Station project with the Otay Water District and Sweetwater Authority as a vital part of its technology-based curriculum to develop students’ creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration skills.

Chula Vista fifth graders enjoy their first visit to the new Hydro Station educational facility. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

New Educational Hydro Station Project Opens in Chula Vista

The first Hydro Station in California opened August 15 in Chula Vista.

The interactive educational space is a joint partnership between the Sweetwater Authority, Otay Water District, and the Chula Vista Elementary School District.

The Hydro Station, at the Richard A. Reynolds Groundwater Desalination Facility, features learning exhibits and hands-on activities to introduce fifth grade students to the ecological cycle of water, water conservation, water quality, and careers in the water industry.

More than 4,000 students are expected to visit the Hydro Station annually.

Making the world ‘a better place’

“The Hydro Station introduces our students to the world of work in the water industry and inspires them at an early age to consider careers in science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics,” said CVESD Superintendent Dr. Francisco Escobedo. “With this station, we expose students to careers that can change the trajectory of entire families, opening the door to high-wage careers that our students might not have thought were possible.

“The students also explore ways to make the world a better place through clean water, and water conservation,” added Escobedo.

Students drink in details about water conservation at the opening of the Hydro Station in Chula Vista. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

Students drink in details about water conservation at the opening of the Hydro Station in Chula Vista. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

New generation encouraged to consider careers as water industry professionals

More than 2,800 people work in the water and wastewater sector at the San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies. One-third of these industry professionals will be eligible for retirement in the next few years.

“It’s an opportunity for a new generation to join us in our mission to deliver safe and reliable water to hundreds and thousands of people in communities that rely on us as water professionals,” said Tish Berge, Sweetwater Authority general manager.

As part of the Hydro Station experience, students will have three dedicated days focused on career opportunities in Information and Communication Technologies, Clean Energy, and the Blue Economy. They will learn how their strengths, interests, and values may align with career options. Hands-on activities will also help them make connections to specific careers.

Hydro Station mission is about education and conservation

“I have served many years in the water industry, which has allowed me to experience the evolving industry climate firsthand,” said Mark Watton, Otay Water District general manager. “The high level of retirements, new technologies, and increased demand for safe drinking water all contribute to the availability of good, stable careers and employment.”

“We want to make sure that a rewarding career in the water and wastewater industry is within reach for as many local students as possible who are vocational or college bound, and the Hydro Station helps us do that,” he added.

Visitors to the new Hydro Station's grand opening mark the occasion with a selfie. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

Visitors to the new Hydro Station’s grand opening mark the occasion with a selfie. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

The Hydro Station’s location is ideal to educate students on how their strengths, interests, and values can connect with careers in the water industry while presenting opportunities to solve real-world problems through the Engineering Design Process. It will also serve to educate children and their families, as well as the community, on the thoughtful use of water resources.

Water Agencies Inaugurate California’s First Hydro Station

Chula Vista, Calif. – The Sweetwater Authority, the Chula Vista Elementary School
District, and the Otay Water District are pleased to announce the opening of the
first Hydro Station in California on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019, at the Richard A. Reynolds
Groundwater Desalination Facility (3066 North Second Avenue, Chula Vista, CA 91910).