High schoolers deepen their water knowledge at Sacramento conference

April 8, 2024
Lisa McEwen, SJV Water
by Lisa McEwen, SJV Water
Members of Hanford High School’s California Water Issues team attended the Water Education Foundation workshop April 5 at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento. Left to right: Hayley Guerrero, Kaylynn Gonzalez, Daren Deftereos, Morgan Carroll and Andrew Hernandez. Lisa McEwen / SJV Water
Lisa McEwen, SJV Water
Lisa McEwen, SJV Water

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Acronyms are so prevalent in the water industry that stringing several together can form an impressive-sounding sentence. 

That’s exactly what Hanford High School junior Morgan Carrroll did at an April 5 workshop in Sacramento called Water 101 put on by the Water Education Foundation. 

After winning a game of bingo no less.

The bingo game kept the audience of water managers and government and nonprofit employees on its toes during a talk on what could be a very dry topic, especially after lunch: The role of regulatory agencies in state and federal water law.

Wearing a dark blue corduroy Future Farmers of America jacket, Carroll stood before the crowd of more than 100 in a lecture hall and whipped through this sentence: “At Water 101, we discussed many topics such as NEPA, FWS, JPL and how there is more than one MAF of surface water.” 

Those are code for National Environmental Policy Act, Fish and Wildlife Service, Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Million Acre-Feet. 

Carroll and four fellow Future Farmers of America students attended the workshop to bolster their knowledge of water rights, regulations and conveyance systems.

They have good reason to — they are Hanford High’s California Water Issues team, and even before attending the workshop placed second at FFA State Finals in February. Other team members include freshman Andrew Hernandez and juniors Daren Deftereos, Kaylynn Gonzales and Haley Guerrero.

Part of being on the team is keeping tabs on current events in the water industry. Students subscribed to Aquafornia, the foundation’s daily news summary, and found out about the workshop that way.

Deciding to attend was a simple choice, said advisor Jason Ferreira.

“These students are the future of water resources in the state because policies that will be developed and voted upon will be falling into the hands of the next generation,” he said, adding that connecting with professionals is key to honing students’ awareness of the water world.

The team has been studying for several months, taking a 100-question exam that tests their understanding of the history of water usage, storage, and distribution. 

“As issues related to water in the state become even more complex, it is vital that those entering the agriculture industry have a general understanding of how the federal and state water systems operate, and how the history of water issues affects agriculture today,” Ferreira said. 

Deftereos said a presentation on the history of California water helped cement important dates in his mind, which will aid in the team’s preparation for state finals in 2025. 

“I come from a farming family, so I’ve got that perspective,” he said. “But I’ve also gained knowledge about other sides of the issue, and I think it’s important to find the middle ground.”

Lisa McEwen, SJV Water

SJV Water is an independent, nonprofit news site dedicated to covering water in the San Joaquin Valley. Get inside access to SJV Water by becoming a member.


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