Investigation: Encouraging El Monte Residents To Use Less Water

California Water Conservation | Photo: tai viinikka/Flickr/Creative Commons

Youth Voices is working with middle school students from three schools in the El Monte City School District: Columbia, Durfee, and Wright. The students, participants in the English Language Development program at their schools, formed teams to explore, investigate, and write about an important issue in their community; all the while they are learning and expanding their knowledge of civic journalism and community engagement. Follow their work on social media by using the hashtag #KCETYV.

Team Name:
The Water Savers

Team Members:
Katie Li
Vy Che
Eduardo Hernandez
Daisy Lopez

The Water Savers' community cause is to encourage our community to control and reduce their daily water use by 20%. This is important because we need take action against the unnecessary water use. The City of El Monte and much of the state of California will run out of water, according to popular media reports. The drought affects everyone, especially those who need to water their lawns; due to strict restrictions, local residents are facing fines if they are caught wasting water.

We plan to advocate for this issue by using social media such as Facebook to educate local residents about water conservation, with steps on how to save water. We will also hand out fliers from house to house, in public places, parks, malls, and more. Our plan also includes putting up posters that have wonderful designs and information about saving water. We could also knock on people's doors and ask them to try using less water.

Mrs. Laura Barrio is a local resident and the administrative assistant of Wright School, in the city of El Monte. We spoke to her regarding California's recent drought and about a water conservation program. She told us that she cares deeply about the topic of water conservation in the City of El Monte, and she questions why she doesn't see any informational campaigns "Just like what they do for anti-tobacco campaigns."

Mrs. Laura Barrios, Wright School Administrative Assistance with student reporter
Mrs. Laura Barrios, Wright School Administrative Assistance with student reporter

Q: Do you know the steps of saving water?
A: Yes, I don't leave the faucet out when I brush my teeth. I don't usually water my lawn, maybe just once a week -- and the water bottles that I found that has left over water, I use them to water the plants in my house.

Q: What do you think about the California drought and water conservation?
A: It's sad we [currently] have a water drought and some other countries had figured out ways to use water more efficiently. For example, we haven't figured out how to better use rain water systems; and when our city streets water pipes erupt all the water just goes to waste.

In class we learned that water is very important to the world because water basically helps everything live. For example, water makes plants grow, keeps humans hydrated and helps animals survive.

Image from The San Gabriel Valley Water Company 2015

Our team also spoke with Tiffany Tran, Utility Rate Analyst at the San Gabriel Valley Water Company, which is an investor-owned public utility water company headquartered in El Monte in the San Gabriel Valley.

Ms. Tran told us that the San Gabriel Valley Water Company started a program called San Gabriel Valley Water Company's Drought Response Plan, which includes easy ways in which residents could reduce their water by 25%.

We plan to take volunteers to help us distribute fliers door-to-door. We hope our community members join our efforts and share the information about the drought and how dangerous it can be if they don't quit wasting water.

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