Where will the future of our drinking water systems go? With a large part of the drinking water workforce poised to retire during the 21st century, will the youth of today be aware of the opportunities available to them and required by the public?
Also, many people, young and old, are interested in water-related issues such as rising water rates, water resources, water quality, sustainability, and water conservation. However, with today’s busy schedules, concerns with terrorism and information overload, the water supply community is finding it more difficult to reach the general public through traditional avenues of news releases, bill stuffers, and the mainstream media.
To help meet the needs of this challenge, NEWWA has created a youth education program to reach future water system workers, future bill-paying customers, and current customers. One of the goals of NEWWA's Youth Education Committee is to assist water supply personnel who wish to participate in youth education in their own service area.
Educational materials are ready to members for borrowing or available for discounted purchase to help in recruiting new workers for the future, and to properly educate the drinking water consumers of tomorrow by partnering with local schools and youth leaders.
Resources include printed materials, videos and DVDs, and visual aids from the “Show-Offs Program.” Many water systems that have initiated youth education programs have discovered many benefits, including:
- Reaching large segments of current customers, including teachers, youth leaders, and parents, with messages about drinking water.
- Helping future customers develop lifelong habits and opinions about water-related issues.
- Creating a stronger working relationship with opinion makers such as teachers, parents, and environmental groups.
- Serving as a liaison between students as future customers and water supply workers and their parents who now pay the bills.
- Creating an atmosphere of trust between the public and the utility, where the utility is seen to want to keep the public informed.
- Youth education programs often act as a catalyst to attract the attention of other groups who are interested in the operation and interests of the water system.
NEWWA's Youth Education Committee offers many services to assist drinking water systems initiate or enhance their youth education program:
Careers In Water Supply
Water Fun For You
Splash Activity Booklet
Story of Drinking Water
MEMBER LENDING LIBRARY
“SHOW-OFFS PROGRAM” - Borrow Visual Aids:
Scale Model of an Aquifer
Model of GAC Filter
Cut Away Models & Props
Distribution System In A Bag
Water Testing Kits
Youth Education Videos and DVDs
TEACHER RECOGNITION AWARD
This award helps identify and acknowledge those educators who have demonstrated exemplary dedication to drinking water education as a significant component of their teaching. Click here to download the nomination form.
For more information on any of NEWWA's Youth Education Programs, contact Paul Riendeau of NEWWA's staff.