H2O Outdoors: Teaching the Next Generation About Water Management
Keystone Science School in collaboration with Colorado River District, Aurora Water, and Denver Water recently worked together to educate selected high school students about Colorado water management as part of the H2O Outdoors program. The program is not just about educating youth, but engaging them in the discussion so that they can work to solve water problems our state might face in the future.
Our discussion around water is framed with the following facts; the population is projected to increase, but our supply of water is a relatively constant. Once the students gain this foundation for the discussion, they learn about all the various perspectives of water management and the stakeholders who represent those various positions and interests, along with all the current principles of water management currently being practiced. Students learn about trans-mountain diversions, conservation measures, incentive-based policies, and even the intricacies of agricultural irrigation efficiencies. On the last day of the H2O Outdoors program, students are charged with developing recommendations for water management within Colorado. Students are finally given a voice!
Students proposed several different strategies to better manage our water. When reviewing their recommendations, there was one major theme; water conservation. Their ideas ranged from conservation methods how we can conserve water for municipal and industrial purposes. Here’s a quick list of some of our students’ recommendations on how they would like to manage our water in Colorado.
Please note that Keystone Science School works very hard to approach all education programs through a non-biased framework. The ideas presented are those generated from the students and no ideas are endorsed by Keystone Science School.
- Promote xeriscaping to reduce the amount of water used in households and create a campaign informing residents about how much water and money they can save when using xeriscaping methods.
- Create or maintain education programs focused on teaching domestic and commercial water users about water conservation strategies.
- Major tourist attractions using water such as ski areas will provide funding for education through interpretive signs, pamphlets, and other means. Tourist attractions can also provide incentives for tourists to participate in tourist programs.
- All stakeholders will be mandated to reduce their water consumption. Specifically, agriculture should reduce water consumption through efficient irrigation so that cities can use more water in the future. All farmers must work together, and share their strategies with each other about how they can conserve more water.
- Use social media to further education and spread the word on water conservation.
- Set water mandates and incentives for municipal use. Restrict residents from watering midday.
- Municipalities should provide incentives for low flush toilets and showers. Encourage individuals and homeowner associations to increase xeriscaping.
- Research more efficient ways to transport water. Find better linings, covers, etc. to reduce water lost to evaporation and seepage.
- Future: Use desalination to access salt water as potable water. Invest money into researching how to make this more efficient and economically sound.
If you are interested in learning more about how water is managed in Colorado check out the great video tutorials presented by the Colorado River District.