Popular Children’s Water Festival teaches value of water
This year 850 students and teachers from 5 local schools converged on Young Park, to learn everything they could about water. It was all part of the Children’s Water Festival, an annual springtime event sponsored by Las Cruces Utilities (LCU).
“I liked learning about how it rains,” said Lourdes Garcia, at the 5th annual Children’s Water Festival. Her classmate, Sammy Lopez, was similarly enthused and said, “The coolest thing I learned was that water comes from underground.”
The Festival is without a doubt the most well-attended event hosted all year by LCU. From the first year on, it was a hit! Now third- and fourth-grade students from schools all over the city look forward to the annual opportunity to learn about water.
Rhonda Diaz, Water Conservation Program coordinator for LCU, hoped the Festival would motivate students to get excited about water conservation. For many of the students, the event did spark a new interest in water. “I didn’t know we could pollute water,” said Jesse Hernandez after visiting several presentations. “Everyone needs to work together to help stop it.”
“This annual event is all about hands on education of our youth. They need to know where our water comes from, and how it travels from deep in the earth to our homes,” says Diaz. “They need to understand how people, animals, and plants adapt to conserving water in our arid environment.”
In 2016, 19 local organizations and 3 dozen volunteers provided water-related presentations to help kids better grasp the importance of water, as well as learn methods about how to use it more practically. The presentations included interactive, entertaining activities that gave the students insight into how limited water is.
If you have a student in elementary school, you likely heard all about the Festival for days afterwards! Many students left the event with more understanding about how water gets to their homes, and how not to waste water.
They also learned about the water cycle – how LCU pulls water from underground aquifers through deep water wells, then processes and tests the water to be sure it is safe drinking water that’s piped to homes and businesses all over town.
They learned how our nearby aquifers are refilled with rainwater and melted snow from the mountains here and in Colorado, and the water seeps into the ground and is stored in underground “pockets” or bolsons.
The students learned about outdoor irrigation and how water use doubles during summer months. They now know it’s drinking water that’s going on lawns all over town, and they learned why it’s a good idea to plant xeriscaped low-water use plants, so a little water can go a long way in our homes and gardens!
The Children’s Water Festival is only possible every year thanks to the help of volunteers from throughout LCU, in conjunction with the Associated Students of New Mexico State University (NMSU), the Network Volunteer Center, and the City of Las Cruces Museum System.
Diaz notes she wants to continue educating the Las Cruces community – and most especially our youth – about protecting water and other natural resources. “A very important part of getting the water message to kids,” notes Diaz, “is they take home the message and can share it with siblings, parents, and grandparents.”
You can reach Las Cruces Utilities at 528-3500 from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Las Cruces Utilities provides GAS – WATER – WASTEWATER – SOLID WASTE services to approximately 100,000 Las Cruces residents.