Teachers from across the state and Valley took time out of their summer vacation to learn more about a precious commodity in the desert — water.
Third- through sixth-grade teachers recently participated in the five-day Water Solutions: Past, Present and Future workshop sponsored by Arizona Project WET and Salt River Project.
The educators visited the SRP environmental lab where tests are conducted on groundwater, canal and well water, as well as water delivered from the Salt and Verde rivers to Valley cities.
“It’s expensive to treat water and cities want to know how to adjust their treatment. If they know there are certain metals in the water, they will know what to treat,” said Robert Vertefeuille, manager of the Environmental Lab and Field Services who conducted the tours with SRP scientist Hilda Marchetti.
Vertefeuille said he sees a benefit to hosting teacher tours.
“It’s important that the community understands where their water comes from and the efforts that are done to provide the finished product,” Vertefeuille said. “Plus, the teachers are educating our future leaders and citizens, so it’s important they understand our water issues.”
Fourth-grade teacher Jennifer Waymack decided to sign up for the workshop because the curriculum she teaches at Pioneer Elementary School in Gilbert focuses on studying Arizona and includes topics such as land and water.
“I wanted to learn some background information and find new ideas to teach students about water,” Waymack said. “I’ve learned so many things that are pertinent to what I teach in the classroom.”
The purpose of the workshop is to educate teachers who will impact hundreds of students every year in the classroom, said Kevin Rolfe, who manages the SRP education program.
The workshop also included tours of Arizona Falls, which houses a hydroelectric facility and Granite Reef Dam in northeast Mesa. They also learned about the Valley’s water supply, how it is managed by SRP and delivered to the Valley.
• Patty Garcia-Likens is with the SRP Media Relations Department.