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Rio Research Roundup gives El Paso students a river of information about water quality

El Paso Water collaborated with the Rio Grande International Study Center (RGISC) on Thursday, Oct. 12, to host the 2017 Rio Research Roundup, a bi-national event that teaches students about water quality by having them collect and analyze samples from the Rio Grande.

Approximately 120 El Paso students from Ysleta High School, El Paso High School and Eastwood High School participated in the event. Students drew water quality samples from the river, tested them and produced video essays, artwork and lab reports on their findings. Simultaneously, approximately 80 teams of other students in sites along the river in Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Mexico completed similar activities. At the end of the event, all participating students submitted results to the RGISC to help build a comprehensive analysis of the river and the surrounding watershed.

The RGISC will recognize the best overall student group on Dec. 15 with a special award, along with several individual awards for students who provide exceptional work.

“This experience gives the students a strong sense of environmental stewardship,” said EPWater Conservation Specialist Jessica Bane. “One of the main messages we always emphasize is the importance of protecting and conserving our water resources. They are important to our everyday life.”

Bane said the results can also allow El Paso and other participating cities to determine locations of quality issues or anomalies, enabling better targeting of the problems.

Several El Paso students said the experience was eye-opening and helped them understand how important water quality management is to everyday life.

“Everything we do ends up affecting something. It affects something greater than us. It really makes you think about [the impact],” said El Paso High student Alejandra Natividad.

Several students said the experience would make them more cognizant about the importance of water in the future.

“I thought it was interesting that so many factors could play into the balance and quality of a river. For me, it puts an emphasis on how important it is to keep the river clean,” said El Paso High student Jose Alvarado.