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Metro answers water conservation issue with water curriculum

Water covers 71 percent of the Earth’s surface. Our bodies, depending on size, contain 55 to 78 percent water. H2O is a necessary element to life but over the next fifteen years water availability is going to be grossly devastated. It is predicted that in 2030 two-thirds of the world population will be without clean drinking water. As a society we take water for granted, particularly with the purchase of bottled water. Companies such as Nestle, Coke, and Pepsi make billions of dollars off a product that is virtually free for them to produce.

These companies are pumping water and selling it at a price higher than what consumers pay per gallon on gas. Each water bottle costs around six pennies per gallon to produce, yet the profit is around six dollars per gallon.

Water laws are crucial as we go into the future and at Metropolitan State College of Denver, students have an opportunity to educate themselves on water issues with the Water Studies minor being added to the Fall 2012 curriculum.

The One World, One Water Center for Urban water Education and Stewardship at Metro received an anonymous gift of $1 million, to be distributed over the next five years to implement the program.

“Water is a central issue in Colorado,” said Sandra Haynes, Dean of the School of Profession Studies at Metro. “Explosive residential development along the Front Range is rapidly depleting the Denver basin’s aquifers.”

The main function of the Water Studies program is to enhance water stewardship on and beyond the campus by promoting effective use of water resources. Classes will involve education on issues such as urban waterway restoration, water law, hydro-philanthropy, conflict resolution, conservation, and stream reclamation.

With the One World, One Water Center, Auraria campus will have access to a multitude of awareness-raising activities and the center plans to make water education a focal point for Metro State.

“Metro State offers what no other higher educational institutional in Colorado can,” said Haynes. “An urban campus adjacent to a major headwater river, the South Platte; a focus on educating undeserved/disadvantaged populations, and graduates who largely stay in Colorado and the Denver Metro area, thereby empowering and affecting change in our region.”

Metro junior, Brandon Hein, said, “I think it is really important to add water education to the curriculum, specifically for students interested in environmental sciences. Aside from the urgency that freshwater sources really need right now, water on our planet, in a more general sense, is an integral part of the geological and atmospheric cycles of Earth. Any student that is interested in renewable resources, environmental conservation, et cetera, would benefit greatly from this kind of exposure.”

According to Erika Church, Assistant Director at the One World One Water Center said a sampling of courses included “Water Essentials”, “Intro to Water Law and Administration”, “Water Conflict Resolution and Decision Making,” and “Basic Water Sampling.” With these courses and many others, the Water Studies minor hopes to educate and empower students to protect and preserve the world’s precious water resources.

Auraria has already begun to highlight the importance of water conservation in their green movements. In partnership with Denver Water and the Auraria Sustainable Campus Program, new shower fixtures were put in the PE Events Center, making the showers 65 percent more efficient than the previous showers according to Jill Golich, head of Auraria Higher Education Center’s Green board.

Golich said the campus has also replaced 413 toilets, 145 urinals, and 210 sink faucets with low flow devices. These two projects alone result in an annual four million gallons saved, which is about seven percent of the campus’ water usage.

For more information on water conservation, check out the documentaries “Tapped”, “Flow”, “Blue Gold” and “Water Wars” to understand the importance of this issue and take a stand against the companies that try to lie about the purity of their products and begin impacting the future of water on Earth. At Metro, contact Erika Church at churche@mscd.edu, Sandra Haynes at hayness@mscd.edu, or Jill Golich at Jill.JenningsGolich@ahec.edu.

As we as a society move forward, we must work to achieve greener lifestyles and strive for sustainability. This issue is relevant to all and a necessity for anyone who survives off water. Awareness is key and Hein says, “If you care about water at all, take these classes.”

 

 

 

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About Caitlin Johnson

I am a senior at Metropolitan State College of Denver with aspirations to write for a travel magazine or become a novelist in the future. Currently, I am a manager with King Soopers as I pay my way through school. I am busily planning my June wedding and working on my first novel. I am a very happy person and my mantra is: "Live with a story to tell".

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