President’s Message—Celebrating 20-Year Festival

The Orange County Water District (OCWD), in addition to providing freshwater to 2.4 million people through its 19 producers, provides educational opportunities, primarily about regional water, to men, women and many high school students on its campus in Fountain Valley, California.

But, during a two-day period every March, OCWD hosts enthusiastic children in gradesCWEF Photo Montage 3, 4 and 5 who learn about water, energy, environmental protection, conservation, and more at its Children’s Water Education Festival.

This year, OCWD celebrated its 20th anniversary of the Festival at the University of California, Irvine. Nearly 7,000 children were in attendance from 74 schools. They included public, private and home schooled children. Additionally, 600 volunteers and presenters participated.

Among the many sponsors were the Disneyland Resort, OCWD Groundwater Guardian Team, the National Water Research Institute, and Used Oil Recycling.

More than 70 organizations participated as presenters including new presenters Brown & Caldwell; California State University, Long Beach; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association; NBC 4; Pacific Marine Mammal Center; Stantec; Stephanie Arne; and University of California, Riverside.

Several presenters and sponsors celebrated 20 years with the Festival and were acknowledged for their dedication: city of Anaheim, city of Newport Beach, Disneyland Resort, Irvine Ranch Water District, Mesa Water District, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Municipal Water District of Orange County, National Water Research Institute, Orange County Conservation Corps, Orange County Sanitation District, Santa Ana Watershed Association, Used Oil Recycling, and Wonders of Wildlife.

Still other presenters and sponsors received recognition for 10 years and more and look forward to the years to come: Allergan Foundation, Anaheim Fire Department, city of Santa Ana, Bolsa Chica Conservancy, Discovery Science Foundation, Inside the Outdoors, OC Watersheds, Ricoh Electronics, Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board, and Wyland Foundation

Whether it was a magic show that taught the water cycle, hands on experience making aquifer models that could be taken home, or a live animal presentation teaching how animals use water, it was two full days of laughter and learning.

There is no fee for this annual event and it is limited only by the number of presenters, so please consider volunteering your expertise next year.

Every year I leave the Festival with a great sense of appreciation to all the sponsoring agencies, to the many enthusiastic presenters and volunteers and to the inquisitive and excited children and their teachers. 

We hope you enjoy viewing pictures of the event that are found on the Festival’s Facebook page and we look forward to many of you participating as presenters and volunteers next year.