Solving world water problems focus of Southland college, university student grants

In the backdrop of a United Nations initiative to focus attention on worldwide water issues, students from eight Southland colleges and universities today received grants totaling $110,000 to research local water-supply solutions that could result in global benefits. The awards were made jointly by Metropolitan Water District, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, L.A. County Sanitation District...

LOS ANGELES, June 18, 2005 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- In the backdrop of a United Nations initiative to focus attention on worldwide water issues, students from eight Southland colleges and universities today received grants totaling $110,000 to research local water-supply solutions that could result in global benefits.

State Sen. Jack Scott (D-Altadena) and state Assemblywoman Carol Liu (D-La Canada Flintridge), honorary co-chairs of the Southern California World Water Forum, announced grants to the University of California, Riverside; University of Southern California; University of Redlands; California State University, Long Beach; Loyola Marymount University; Pasadena City College; California Polytechnic University, Pomona; and Los Angeles City College.

The grants were awarded during ceremonies at the headquarters of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

"This is an outstanding way of helping to solve water supply and quality problems at grassroots and global levels, while involving college students in meaningful projects that provide valuable educational benefits," said Scott, who chairs the Senate Committee on Education and is a former university professor and administrator. Scott was unable to attend, but sent a videotaped message to the event.

The grants were awarded by the Forum, a program including Metropolitan, the United States Bureau of Reclamation, the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County, the American Society of Civil Engineers, Friends of the United Nations, Water for People, and the Family of Southern California Water Agencies.

In addition, several of the schools have obtained matching funds for their projects totaling $56,000. (See page 3 for a complete listing of the schools, grants and projects.)

Liu, who chairs the Assembly's Higher Education Committee, praised the grant program for "raising awareness of Southern California and global water issues and involving college students in real learning and finding real solutions."

Students will be undertaking research and development of such diverse topics as "Conservation of Irrigation Water by Onsite Recycling," "Rooftop Rainwater Harvesting," and "Benefits of Water Well rehabilitation." The 12 winning projects were winnowed from 18 submissions by an evaluation panel that included engineers, educators, scientists, and water-resource managers. Completed projects are due in January 2006.

"From kindergarten to college level, Metropolitan's education programs strive to educate people to the importance and fragility of water in our region. The Forum is helping to show the fragility of water resources around the world, and also to propose solutions," said Metropolitan board Chairman Wes Bannister.

The Southern California World Water Forum was launched in October 2004 with a half-day program and workshop at Metropolitan attended by 150 students and professors at which keynote speeches were given by Commissioner John W. Keys III of the Bureau of Reclamation and Marcia Brewster, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (www.mwdh2o.com) is a cooperative of 26 cities and water agencies serving 18 million people in six counties. The district imports water from the Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local supplies, and helps its members to develop increased water conservation, recycling, storage and other resource-management programs.

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