The Castaic Lake Water Agency (CLWA) has upped the ante for high school science departments whose students compete in CLWA’s “Water Challenge” scholarship program, offering a $5,000 prize to the science department of the high school that produces the most completed projects in the service learning scholarship competition, designed to promote water use efficiency.
The Water Challenge, hosted by CLWA’s Education Department, is open to students in grades 9-12, and CLWA distributes $15,500 in scholarships among the top five winning entries, with the first-place entry receiving a $7,000 scholarship to be divided equally among members of the winning team. New this year is the $5,000 prize for the school’s top science department.
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“Every year, we are extremely proud of the entries we receive in our Water Challenge,” said Dirk Marks, Water Resources Manager for CLWA. “We see some of the brightest thinking and highest-energy efforts that our local high school students have to offer. So, we thought it would be appropriate to make the Water Challenge not only beneficial to our winning scholars, but also to the outstanding local schools that educate them. This makes the Water Challenge fun for students and faculty alike.”
In addition, CLWA is offering financial assistance of $200 for video production departments in schools that produce commercials to air during their morning announcements. These commercials must promote the Water Challenge.
Students can enter the Water Challenge in teams of one to four, and they are asked to create a project dealing with issues such as water pollution, water conservation, critical water habitats like the Santa Clara River, and water quality.
The initial application deadline, approximately a month from now, is the first of several key dates in the program:
- Application Due: October 12, 2010
- Mandatory Orientation Meeting: October 21, 2010
- Project Due: January 20, 2011
- Awards Reception: 6:30 p.m. March 3, 2011
Marks said the Water Challenge is a service learning project in the truest sense: Participants gain — and promote — a better understanding of the issues and challenges relating to water use efficiency in the Santa Clarita Valley and beyond.
“CLWA’s Education Department creates programs like the Water Challenge to educate students and the community about the importance of water conservation, while simultaneously providing opportunities for students to not only learn, but also to apply what they are learning to real-life situations,” Marks said. “They gain practical experience addressing social and ethical issues that face the community, and they also benefit the community at the same time.”
This past year, twins Alex and Todd Davis of Saugus High School won the Water Challenge with a campaign they created to be used at their workplace, Six Flags Magic Mountain. Their campaign, which they dubbed, “Every Drop Counts,” provided water conservation educational materials and tips for the theme park’s employees and guests.
Additional information — including rules, judging criteria and answers to frequently asked questions — can be found by going to www.clwa.org  and selecting “Water Challenge” from the “School Education” menu. CLWA’s Education Department can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org  or by phone at (661) 297-1600, ext. 275.
About the Castaic Lake Water Agency:
The Castaic Lake Water Agency (CLWA) is the Santa Clarita Valley’s public water wholesaler. CLWA operates two treatment plants, two pump stations, two storage facilities, and over 17 miles of transmission pipelines. Their mission is to provide reliable, quality water at a reasonable cost to the Santa Clarita Valley. www.clwa.org 
For more information, please contact Dirk Marks, Water Resources Manager, Castaic Lake Water Agency, email@example.com