Tehachapi's children are likely to face a daunting challenge when they are adults -- managing and conserving the area's valuable water supplies.
As Benjamin Franklin once said, "When the well is dry, we know the worth of water."
So in an effort to better understand how to mange this life-giving resource, future decision makers need to be educated about the complex issues associated with water.
That's why a new water conservation program for school children that promotes awareness, appreciation, knowledge and stewardship of water resources is making its way into Tehachapi classrooms.
Tehachapi Cummings County Water District General Manager John Martin met with Tehachapi Unified School District Superintendent Lisa Gilbert on Sept. 17 to organize a water education training program for 15 of the district's teachers.
Project "WET" as it is known, is a nonprofit water education program coordinated through the Water Education Foundation and funded by grants from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Mid-Pacific Region, and the U.S. Geological Survey, California Water Programs.
The program is aimed at educating teachers so they in turn can teach their students about the importance of water conservation.
"Unfortunately, most people don't think much about water, as long as it flows to the tap and it doesn't cost too much," Martin said. "It is important to bring this program into the schools because the students are not learning enough about water with the current curriculum. Water is becoming more scarce in California and competition for water between agriculture, urban and environmental uses is becoming more intense."
According to Martin, the water district has a budget of $9,000 that can be used for water conservation programs like the "WET" program, which will set the district back $5,720.
"I think its worth it," said Martin.
Meanwhile, the school district would be responsible to pay for other training related expenses such as compensation for substitute teachers to cover classroom instruction for those attending the six-hour one-day training conducted by Bakersfield-based JS Strategic Consulting, scheduled for Oct. 21, at the water district's headquarters.
Traci Minjares, Chief Administrator of Instructional Services and Technology for the school district said that the program has been initially slated to target fifth graders, with a few middle school students sprinkled in.
The reason for the grade selection is because those grades teach standards that relate to water.
The program is also designed to fit within the new national Common Core standards Initiative that the school district must adopt by the spring of 2014.
As far as when the program would be implemented -- immediately Minjares added, as the program is designed to be integrated into regular classroom lesson plans.
"The whole purpose of WET is to get kids to understand how important water is," she said. "The program is designed to teach that, as well as understand how it gets to us."