Students from Kapa‘a Elementary School prepare to fill up at the water station using their reusable water bottles, before heading to their next activity at DOW’s Make a Splash Festival on Sept. 20. Contributed photo

The Department of Water hosted its 15th annual water education event; the Make a Splash with Project WET (Water Education for Teachers) Festival at the Pua Loke Arboretum last Thursday.

“We are grateful for the support of our community, volunteers, county and state departments, Board of Water Supply and DOW staff; both past and present, for their commitment to water education,” said Jonell Kaohelaulii, DOW’s information and education specialist who coordinates the DOW’s annual festival.

The DOW invites fifth grade students from around the island to attend the annual Make a Splash with Project WET festival and has educated approximately 11,000 students over the past 15 years. Make a Splash is part of DOW’s community outreach and educational program to promote water conservation and water education to its current and future customers.

Students assist an injured sea turtle model and learn about the proper removal techniques of a fish hook, as part of the NOAA — Marine Wildlife activity featured at the Make a Splash with Project WET festival. Contributed photo

“We are proud to celebrate and share 15 years of ‘Make a Splash’ with our community. Helping students learn to make critical decisions on how they can make a positive impact for our sustainable water future, is an event worth continuing,” Kaohelaulii said.

Kaua‘i’s Make a Splash with Project WET Festival is currently the state’s largest and only water education festival. The event brings together parents, students, teachers, government agencies and enthusiasts of all kinds for a common cause: to raise awareness for water education and conservation.

At the festival, students participate in dynamic hands-on activities, games and educational exhibits and learn how this vital natural resource affects water-dependent activities including agriculture, recreation, groundwater, the local industry and wildlife habitats.

This year, the DOW hosted 650 students, 12 community partners and offered 13 water education activity booths.

Students connect their property boards to form a river community as the Kaua‘i Invasive Species Committee leads the discussion about source point and non-source point pollution in this Project WET activity, “Sum of the Parts.” Contributed photo

The DOW would like to thank the following supporters of the Make a Splash with Project WET festival: East Kauai & West Kauai Soil and Water Conservation Districts; state Department of Education; state Department of Health – Safe Drinking Water Branch; state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) – Forestry and Wildlife Division; DLNR – Aquatic Resources Division; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – Marine Wildlife Programs; UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (UH-CTAHR) Kauai Agricultural Research Center; Aqua Engineers Inc.; Kaua’i Invasive Species Committee; Hawai’i Rural Water Association, Kaua’i Fire Department; Kodani and Associates LLC., Grove Farm; The Nature Conservancy; Kapa‘a High School – JROTC program ; and the Kauai Board of Water Supply and DOW staff and retirees.

For more information about the Make a Splash with Project WET Festival or Project WET Hawaii, call the Department of Water at 245-5461.