The desert southwest, including New Mexico (NM), has some of the most diverse water-resources issues in the country, ranging from severe drought to sustainability concerns to interstate compact violations. Water conservation is rapidly becoming an integral component in water-resources management, yet some middle-school (MS) students in Albuquerque, New Mexico do not know the definition of water conservation, let alone where their water comes from. This is disturbing, as todays students will be making tomorrow's decisions regarding our water. Therefore, science teachers need to ensure these crucial concepts get incorporated into the curriculum, beginning at an early age. The purpose of this quantitative study is to assess the basic water knowledge of the following population samples: middle-school science students, prospective middle-school science teachers, and current middle-school science teachers, by utilizing surveying and statistical methods to collect and interpret the survey data. The study sites where the surveying took place included Jackson MS and the University of New Mexico, College of Education, both in Albuquerque, NM, in which 287 MS students and 61 teachers were surveyed. This study presents the results from a thirty (30)-item questionnaire administered to the three population samples, and focuses on ten water concepts and results with either low percentages associated with correct answers, high percentages associated with incorrect answers, high percentages for the response 'I don't know,' or mixed results, indicating possibly some sort of misunderstanding. These deficiencies include not knowing the definitions of the following: sustainability, watershed, aquifer, spray irrigation, water right, and interstate compact. In addition, many students do not know the source of their household water, or where their water will come from if this source is depleted. Also, students are unable to describe and breakdown New Mexico's water use by sector; are unaware of local, industrial water use; and are unaware of New Mexico's surface-water delivery requirements to Texas per the Rio Grande Compact. To address these critical, local water concepts, this study also provides recommendations and resources for science teachers to develop a water-resources curriculum tailored to students' needs.
water resources, conservation, middle-school students, questionnaire
Kindel, Sharon. "Ten Things You Should Know About Water Before Going to High School: Incorporating Local Water-Resources Issues Into the Albuquerque, New Mexico Public School System Science Curriculum." (2007). http://digitalrepository.unm.edu/wr_sp/84