Photo of Students

18 Graduate OWASA Youth Water Academy

Another group of water-conscious local teens is ready to take their newly acquired water knowledge to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community after completing OWASA’s Youth Water Academy.

This fall’s program culminated in early December for the 18 participants from local high schools after five weeks of learning the ins and outs of the process of bringing high-quality water from the source to taps across the community.

“I think the top-level goal was we really just wanted to share with young people in the community what it takes behind the scenes to get water safely to their homes,” OWASA Communications and Community Relations Officer Linda Low said. “It’s such a valuable and limited resource, the more that our young people – who are future stewards of this resource – know about the process, the more empowered they’ll be to help protect and conserve it and help us take care of it.”

Low added the students can now carry that information to peers, families and friends in the community.

The academy included tours of OWASA’s Water and Wastewater Treatment Plants, learning more about sustainability and water governance in our community and what it takes from an infrastructure standpoint to keep things flowing smoothly.

The students were then able to put that knowledge to work by constructing their own water treatment system during a hands-on build in OWASA’s operation center. For the first time during the academy, the students were able to successfully complete a model water treatment system on the final night of the program.

Low was leading parents out to the area where the students were when the system was successfully completed.

“I could feel the energy from across the lot coming at us,” Low said of the cheers coming from the bay. “I could just hear real joy and excitement.”

This fall’s Youth Water Academy graduates were Eve Bryner, Claudia Cisneros, Damian Clark, Jenna Fischer, Miguel Herrera, MiKaela Johnson, Ramsey Jooss, Tarran Kyes, Isabella Lane, Jadyn Malawski, Erin Mansfield, Hunter Moore, Noor Mwamzan, Sophia Oh, Luke Phillips, Zoe Tikkun, James West and Molly Zolotor.

The program is open to students in grades 9-12 in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. Keep an eye out for the next round of applications for the next Youth Water Academy in 2020.