Thank You: Ag now part of water curriculum

February 28, 2001

Recently, the Imperial Irrigation District had the opportunity to host a quarterly conference for the Department of Water Resources. Those in attendance were primarily educators and/or in-house trainers who represented various member water agencies throughout California. Nearly all the agencies in attendance represented urban water users.

The educational committee is an important facet of the Department of Water Resources. Basically, the educational committee develops and implements curriculum that is incorporated into our state's standards for public education. This year's endeavor is to create three instructional modules that will teach elementary students (fourth- through sixth-graders) the importance of water use and water conservation.

Since this committee is mostly comprised of urban water agencies, they originally deleted all reference to agricultural water uses and irrigation practices.

Throughout this two-day conference, IID staff, community leaders, farmers and educators portrayed a different viewpoint of agricultural water use. Together they explained and exemplified the importance of water allocations to one of the richest agricultural areas in the nation, the Imperial Valley. We had experts review current water-management practices, water-conservation methodologies, irrigation principles, agricultural research and technology, and offered various teaching strategies that were inclusive of the agricultural industry.


Through combined efforts we were able to showcase some of the Imperial Valley's finest farmland, IID's network of canals and laterals, the Sony Bono Wildlife Refuge, the Imperial wetlands project and most important of all, our local professionals.

Because of these combined efforts the educational committee representing the Association of California Water Agencies will now include agricultural use as part of its water-education curriculum packet for the statewide May water awareness campaign.

In return, I would like to share this accomplishment with the following people: Mike King, IID; Doug Cox, IID; David Bradshaw, IID; Steve Charlton, IID; Vincent Griego, U.S. Wildlife Service ranger; Sue Giller, IID; Al Kalin, Kalin Ranches; Domingo Escamilla, River Ranch Fresh Foods, Inc.; Johnny Valenzuela and Ben Abatti, Abatti Produce; Dr. Mike Klentschy, El Centro Elementary School District; and Richard Sanchez, IID. Special kudos must be extended to the public affairs staff that kept this diverse group organized and on track: Richard Arellano, IID; Susie Carrillo, IID; and Linda Sanchez, IID.

Finally, this two-day conference was culminated by an old-fashioned farmers market and taco stand. Thank you so much River Ranches and Green Gold Packing for your generous donations.


El Centro

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