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May 20, 2009 > An eventful evening

An eventful evening

Most meetings of the Alameda County Water District (ACWD) board are quiet affairs as directors and department heads discuss the business of providing a reliable and safe supply of water to the Tri-City area. The Board Room is mostly empty of spectators. Thursday evening, May 14, 2009 was a bit different. Newly appointed board member Glenn Reynolds was installed by ACWD Clerk Andrew Warren and assumed the vacant seat of recently deceased board member Art Lampert. He was seated in time to listen to and discuss a presentation by a representative of Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency (BAWSCA) who explained a new 25-year water supply agreement with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. BAWSCA represents the interests of 25 water districts (including ACWD) and two private utilities that purchase water wholesale from the San Francisco regional water system. Reynolds and other members of the board later watched as Tri-City school children were presented with awards for poster and slogan creativity.

At least once a year, standing-room only crowds envelop the board room. Frank Jahn, public information representative for the district, acts as master of ceremonies for a gathering of winning entrants in the annual Water Conservation Poster and Slogan Contest. Now in its twelfth year, throngs of students, teachers, parents and siblings crowded into the room clutching the 2009-10 Water Conservation Calendar, admiring winning pictures and slogans on its pages and viewing the original entries on the walls.

As the winners, their teachers and their families arrived at the board room, a calendar was handed to them by Jahn who displayed a prodigious memory as he greeted many by name. Opening the ceremonies, Jahn noted that he is often called "Water Man" or "Water Guy" but his personal favorite is "Water Dude." Presentations began as "Water Dude" called for three volunteers to answer water conservation questions and a chance to win "the coveted ACWD Rubber Duckie." All three contestants - Suprav Goswami (Mission Valley Elementary), Adara Smith (Kennedy Elementary), Steffi Kwok (Warm Springs Elementary) - were successful.

Then it was time for Jahn and ACWD board members to present each winner and their teachers with award and gift certificates. Poster and Slogan Contests have been held every year since 1998 for 1st-6th grade students in the ACWD service area. This year, 25 posters and 12 slogans were selected from over 1450 entries representing 43 schools and 139 classrooms. The Grand Prize Winner was Alison Fang of Mrs. Batalao's class at Millard Elementary School in Fremont. A check for $100 was presented to Mrs. Batalao for a class field trip or project. Other first place winners included Erin Zhu, a second grade student at Chadbourne Elementary School (Mrs. Kellogg's class) in Fremont and Zixin Chen, a sixth grade student at Gomes Elementary School (Ms. Nishimori's class) in Fremont.

Pictures are accompanied by catchy slogans offering timely advice in this year's colorful calendar. For instance, Sofia Aguirre's (grade 5, Ms. Lin, Warm Springs Elementary School), "It's not raining, it's not pouring, water's what we should be storing" and Adarsh Mody's (grade 6, Mr. Colgazier, Weibel Elementary School) admonition, "Don't be lazy, don't be weak, get up and fix that leak" give good guidance in this drought year. Thomas Duncan (grade 6, Mrs. Chinn, Christian Community Schools) has the right idea in his slogan, "Cut Mother Nature some slack... save water!

For additional information about this contest, poster artwork viewing and other ACWD educational programs, contact Frank Jahn (510) 668-4209 or visit the ACWD main office at 43885 South Grimmer Boulevard in Fremont.

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