Water Challenge 2018 A Huge Success!

On April 19, 2018, in the culmination of a semester-long high school team competition, the “Water Challenge,” 500 Bay Area students attended a high-profile presentation and award ceremony at Levi’s Stadium. Students arrived by bus to visit water-centered college booths, receive the wisdom of several guest speakers, view the three winning teams’ Water Challenge project presentations, and cheer for their fellow students as the three winning teams were awarded scholarships.

Just as the local water industry braces for a “silver tsunami” of retirements in the next few years, the Water Challenge high school scholarship program cultivates the next generation of Bay Area water experts. To begin to build a replenishment stream to the California water industry workforce, around 800 local high school students participated in semester-long team projects focused on real issues faced by water districts.

Each student presentation was videotaped and projected onto the jumbotron for the entire audience to see, including one from third place winner, “Supreme Team” (Independence), another from second-place winner “Ten Eyes” (Santa Teresa), as well as a presentation from first-place winner “Group 5” (James Lick). Congrats to all three teams!

First place winners, “Group 5” from James Lick Technical High School, were in complete shock, saying over and over again, “We won, really?! Us?!”

According to winning team teacher Gabriela Huynh, “The students and I were both thrilled that their creative children’s book/rap won. The students did all the hard work.” She added, “they did the research and used their creativity to make a product answering the driving question. I provided guidance in terms of water lessons, assigned readings and questions. Students learned so much about California’s water supply and the environment. They appreciate what they have and have an understanding of what it takes to provide this state with clean water. The Water Challenge is project based learning at its best.”


1st Place ($5,000), Group 5, for Children’s Book, “Honey the Bunny and Her Quest to Save Water”

“Because she is a bunny, that’s all she could do. She is helping conserve water. How about you?”

2nd Place ($3,000), Ten Eyes, for NoOverflow, Teacher Carole Ng, Santa Teresa High School, ESUHSD, Cathy, Kien, Thi

Won for NoOverflow, “a device that will help homeowners detect, track, and locate leaky pipes and faucets.” By attaching a sensor to each faucet

3rd Place ($2000), Supreme Team!, for Tank Displacement – Teacher Ava Chiao, ESUHSD, Independence, Danelle, Jacob, Reathena, Christian

“Our solution to how we can sustain our drinkable water supply is a simple solution. Three million gallons are wasted everyday just in toilets. Our plan is to displace a whole gallon by putting a gallon container inside your toilet tank to save 1600 gallons a year.”