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Water Festival shows importance of Earth’s most precious resource

The Water Festival promotes the value of water through exhibitor booths, science experiments and more. /
Photo courtesy Houston Public Works Water Festival

by Eduardo de la Garza

This is the second in a three-part series about Earth Day. The next two parts deal with Green Mountain Energy Earth Day — in partnership with Citizens’ Environmental Coalition and featuring Houston Public Works Water Festival — on April 22 at Discovery Green.

In 1936, Bob Nolan wrote the country song “Cool Water,” about a man riding on and talking to his horse, who he’s named Dan, in the desert. It was first recorded in 1941 by the Sons of the Pioneers and includes the lines “All day I’ve faced a barren waste, without the taste of water, cool water. Old Dan and I with throats burned dry, and souls that cry for water … cool, clear water.”

Water is life. We drink it, bathe in it and flush it, pour it in pet’s water bowls, and swim and boat in it. Animals depend on it too; in fact, for sea animals, it’s their home. Trees depend on it. The Earth is in the perfect place in the solar system to support life. But the Earth needs water to do that.

On January 28, 1970, on Environmental Rights Day, the precursor to the first Earth Day, University of California-Santa Barbara Environmental Studies Professor Rod Nash read his Declaration of Environmental Rights which began with “All people have the right to an environment capable of sustaining life …” And it’s H2O that sustains.

Water is the theme this April 22 at Discovery Green for Green Mountain Energy Earth Day — in partnership with Citizens’ Environmental Coalition and featuring Houston Public Works Water Festival.

“Water is, and will continue to be, one of Houston’s most pressing environmental issues,” Discovery Green Conservancy President Barry Mandel said. “We hope families will enjoy the entertainment lineup designed to raise awareness about water as a precious resource.”

The Houston Public Works Water Festival is an annual event that promotes the value of that resource through exhibitor booths, science experiments, performances, and art installations. This year, the Water Festival is partnering with Discovery Green and CEC to combine the festival with Earth Day, said Lacie Ulrich, event planning and outreach lead for Houston Water.

“With population growth and climate change in mind, managing and protecting our water resources is becoming more and more important,” Ulrich said. “Water has always been a vital part of Earth Day, this year we are just really bringing it to the forefront.”

The world’s most precious resource is also used to grow food, is used as an energy source for thermoelectric power, and used by municipalities’ fire departments. Beyond personal needs, water keeps cities running.

“Emphasis will be put on topics such as water conservation, local water systems, water technologies, sustainable practices, species habitats, weather, water quality, and ecology,” Ulrich said. “Additionally, attendees will have the opportunity to learn about the City’s water supply, water and wastewater treatment systems, conservation efforts, drought plan, stormwater projects, and more.”

The City of Houston launched the Give Water a Break campaign, Ulrich said. The hope, she said, is that people will be spurred toward conserving and using water more efficiently. For more information on Give Water a Break, visit the campaign’s website.

The climate crisis and water go hand-in-hand. Some regions are suffering through droughts, while others have to wade through massive floods and municipalities have to deal with flooding’s effects on mobility and sanitation.

“In order for Houston to thrive we must continue to invest in sustainable and equitable water infrastructure projects,” Ulrich said. “Hopefully, by attending the festival, attendees can peek behind the curtain and see all of the organizations that are working together to treat and transport drinking water and wastewater, keep our waterways clean, prevent flooding, and ensure we have water supplies for future generations.”

“Cool Water” ends with “Dan, can you see that big, green tree? Where the water’s runnin’ free, and it’s waitin’ there for you and me?” CEC invites everyone to celebrate Earth Day from noon to 5 p.m. at Discovery Green, partake in the Water Festival, and learn that water makes the Earth go round.