Educating Youth about the Future of San Diego Water

By Megan Drummy and Sarah Mojarro

Katz & Associates works with the City of San Diego on the education and outreach program for Pure Water San Diego, the City’s 20-year program to provide a local and sustainable supply of drinking water for San Diego. By 2035, thirty percent of San Diego’s future water supply could come from the use of water purification technology. Because of the long term nature of the program, youth engagement is essential, and K&A staff has worked with the City to establish partnerships with schools and youth organizations throughout San Diego.

K&A has partnered the City with Project SWELL and the San Diego Youth Commission. Project SWELL brings the Pure Water program together with Think Blue, San Diego Coastkeeper and the San Diego Unified School District to teach children about the importance of the San Diego region’s waterways. As part of the science curriculum for 5th graders, a special lesson is devoted to understanding the water purification process. Beginning in fall 2014, a lesson plan that includes a multimedia PowerPoint will be given to hundreds of teachers and schools around San Diego County.

The San Diego Youth Commission’s high school and college age members are responsible for identifying critical issues that affect youth in the City of San Diego. Activities will include presentations at their schools, partnerships with environmental and ecological clubs on campus and developing materials that speak to the messages and ideas most important to youth of their age group.

Facility TourThe education and outreach program reaches a wide range of young people, with students from 1st grade all the way through medical school taking tours of the City’s water purification facility or receiving presentations in their classrooms. Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts regularly take tours to fulfill requirements for their water journeys and badges. Materials and information are tailored to the audience, and K&A has helped create youth versions of presentations, tour materials and videos. The youth versions are more interactive, and pose questions to the students about how they conserve water and what they know about San Diego water. The more advanced concepts are explained in a fun, easy to understand manner using visuals, activity pages and vocabulary words.

Today’s youth will be adults when Pure Water San Diego reaches its planned goal of producing 83 million gallons of purified water per day. By engaging them now, the City and K&A are helping them become better equipped to make informed decisions about San Diego’s water needs in the long term.

You can learn more about Pure Water San Diego by visiting