Baldwin Park Unified is encouraging water conservation and sustainability through a long-standing partnership with the Valley County Water District (VCWD) and its water bottle fill station program.
The program, also made possible by The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District, saw the installation of 18 water bottle fill stations on Baldwin Park Unified campuses before the start of the 2021-22 school year.
“By highlighting the quality and safety of drinking tap water, the program seeks to shift public perception away from bottled water to a more reliable source at the tap,” VCWD General Manager Jose Martinez said.
The water filling stations include tap water and refrigeration systems to provide cold water. The units also have visual meters quantifying the amount of plastic water bottles saved from waste. To use, students press the button at the top of the machine and the water is dispensed directly into the reusable bottles.
Above each fill station is the tagline, Trust the Tap, informing the larger community that the tap water in the area is safe for consumption. Constant testing and maintenance is conducted, helping students, teachers, staff and residents feel confident to drink directly from the tap. To protect against water contamination and ensure safe drinking, VCWD works with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
VCWD also is launching a program in conjunction with the Water Education – Water Awareness Committee (WEWAC), in which teachers are eligible to submit information on upcoming course projects that include water or are water-themed. Teachers can receive up to $750 in grant funds.
High school seniors can also apply for a $1,500 essay-based scholarship through VCWD and WEWAC – an opportunity that is open to all areas of study.
“We are proud to partner with the Valley County Water District to ensure our students have access to clean, fresh drinking water, while also encouraging our students and staff on campus to switch to reusable water bottles,” Superintendent Dr. Froilan N. Mendoza said. “We are able to make our community and families stronger when we engage with the excellent local partners around us because together, we can offer the very best resources and services.”
BPUSD_VCWD (from left to right): Valley County Water District General Manager Jose Martinez and Baldwin Park Unified Superintendent Dr. Froilan N. Mendoza meet at the BP STEM Academy to discuss future plans to install additional water bottle fill stations on BPUSD campuses.