Third and fourth graders learn about the wondrous circle of water recycling at the 5th Annual Children's Water Education Festival. The students made a bracelet with beads -- each color bead represented a different step in the water recycling process.

The value of water is demonstrated by carefully passing a cup full of water overhead to see which team could fill up a bucket first by not spilling the water during the passing process.
Each spring, in celebration of Water Awareness Month, the Orange County Water District (OCWD) Groundwater Guardian team and the Disneyland Resort host the Children's Water Education Festival in Irvine, Calif. This award-winning event, formally known as the Children's Drinking Water Festival, hosts nearly 6,000 third and fourth graders from throughout Orange County. This year, the festival celebrated its fifth year of water education. At the two-day education event, students learn about the local environment, wildlife and water, as well as the interdependence of water, soil, plants, trees, animals and humans, in a highly interactive, hands-on setting.

During the festival - this year themed "Got Water?" - students and teachers participated in over 60 educational demonstrations and activities, including games using squirt guns, kids being encased in giant bubbles, live sea animals, an obstacle course, and making edible aquifers out of ice cream and clear soda pop. Together with some of the area's leading environmental education specialists, students explored the water cycle and discovered that water is a finite, irreplaceable, but recyclable resource. They also learned about sources of water pollution and how they can conserve water.

During the second day of the festival, a VIP luncheon called the "Expedition," was held for festival supporters to let them experience the event's magic. The Expedition included a behind-the-scenes tour of the activities in addition to the luncheon.

The festival has won five prestigious awards for its educational value through its interactive, hands-on activities. They are as follows:

  • Public Education Award, California Water Environment Association, Statewide
  • Public Education Award, California Water Environment Association, Santa Ana River Basin
  • Water Efficiency Award in the "Schools" category, California Water Awareness Campaign
  • Orange County Environmental Award in the "Government" category
  • Claire A. Hill Award in the "Innovations" category, finalist