Water plays perhaps the most vital role in the growth, development and economy of the San Antonio region. Issues concerning fresh water supplies and wastewater treatment are the core principles of the San Antonio Water System’s (SAWS) Education program.
“The ultimate goal of SAWS education is to develop a water literate citizenry.” — SAWS Education Team, 2001
Since its inception in May 1992, SAWS has engaged in providing educational materials and programs to the surrounding community. The main goal has always been to provide a mechanism to educate and preserve the local watersheds and to balance economic growth with environmental responsibility. The belief that residents can live compatibly with nature and act equitably toward each other is the tap-root of the SAWS Education concept. Inspiring young people of all ages to take an interest in our water resources, become active environmental stewards, and ultimately, carry these behaviors into adulthood is the goal of all water education programs (Warren, Andrews, 1995).
A knowledgeable, skilled, and active youth citizenry is a key to resolving the environmental issues that promise to become increasingly important into the next century. While our schools play a major role, cultivating environmental literacy is a task that neither begins nor ends with formal education. Many parts of our society shape attitudes toward and knowledge about the environment–family, peers, religion, community, interest groups, government, the media, etc.
Knowledge alone doesn’t necessarily mean more responsible environmental behavior. In fact, a major difficulty in imparting environmental literacy lies in the simple fact that research has not yet satisfactorily identified the knowledge components that are the precursors to responsible environmental behavior (Sivek & Hungerford, 1989). Education goes deeper. In fact, education provides the opportunity to connect personally and intellectually with residents of the city and hopefully “sow the seeds” of civic responsibility within them.