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Students soak up water knowledge

Fourth-grade students learn about liquid boiling points and the water cycle at a National Weather Service demonstration at the Rio Rancho Children's Water Festival on Tuesday. (Courtesy of Marian Wrage)

Fourth-grade students learn about liquid boiling points and the water cycle at a National Weather Service demonstration at the Rio Rancho Children’s Water Festival on Tuesday. (Courtesy of Marian Wrage)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — What happens when you turn on a faucet? Where does rainwater go? How do you make water safe for drinking?

bright spotElementary students learned the answers to these questions at the annual Rio Rancho Children’s Water Festival, which started Tuesday and continues Wednesday. The event brought 1,400 third- and fourth-graders from Rio Rancho and Placitas to the Santa Ana Star Center to learn about water in New Mexico.

“Lots of students and adults don’t know where their water comes from,” said Marian Wrage, the Rio Rancho Environmental Programs manager who organizes the annual festival. “These students learn about the water cycle, and how important it is to protect and conserve water.”

One activity tasked students with determining their own water footprint. They discovered how much water is used for activities such as washing dishes and growing food.

Another station was a game in the style of “Jeopardy!” that tested students’ knowledge about groundwater and surface water.

Students made ollas, which are clay water storage containers that can improve water distribution for small gardens.

The event allows students to interact with experts who are responsible for treating and managing local water resources.

“We give students a test before and after the festival, and it’s incredible to see how much they learn,” Wrage said.

Children were taught by the National Weather Service, Sandia National Laboratories, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Rio Rancho Public Schools, Office of the State Engineer, New Mexico Natural History Museum, Waste Management, New Mexico Environment Department, Rio Grande Stormwater Team, Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program, Bohannan Huston and the Southern Sandoval County Flood Control Authority.

Theresa Davis is a Report for America corps member covering water and the environment for the Albuquerque Journal. Visit to learn about the effort to place journalists in local newsrooms around the country. We welcome suggestions for the daily Bright Spot. Send to


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