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Conservation Education and Water Sustainability

Updated: Sep 23, 2020

If your mom is former watershed coordinator, your big brother loves biology and dad is at the local water district, you grow up knowing the water cycle before you can read.

The summer before fourth grade, my daughter was at a (lovely) summer camp in Chico, California where they had a project that proposed to teach the water cycle.

My daughter raised her hand to explain to the counselor that the coloring page did not include groundwater and thus missed a part of how the water cycle works. He told her she was wrong. So when she came home, I called him to discuss and was told I was wrong. Deep breath. I found a graphic created by NASA that was nearly identical to the one used in class -- except it included groundwater in the process. I sent it over the next day with a smiley face and a nice note. I called the company in Calabasas that made the graphic and suggested they upgrade their imagery. Another deep breath.

But here's the thing, how we handle groundwater -- and surface water -- is literally a life or death issue. Can we sustain our civilization? Can we support agricultural needs? Can we maintain biodiversity? All of this requires thoughtful water use planning and sound water policy. This means we need voters who understand how the water cycle -- and our own local and statewide water systems work. This means every kid, rural, suburban or urban, needs access to accurate environmental education.

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