Nobody left this lecture without quenching their thirst for knowledge.
Students from John A. Cumber Primary School in West Bay were treated to a presentation on Cayman’s most precious resource – the water supply – from a pair of prominent experts on Tuesday.
Hannah Reid, the corporate communications director of The Water Authority – Cayman, and Manuel Thomaz, general manager of Cayman Water, explained in detail to the students how seawater goes from wells 150 feet underground and eventually travels through pipes to arrive at their kitchen sinks.
The students, all aged 7 and 8, listened in rapt attention as Ms. Reid and Mr. Thomaz spoke about the modern innovation of desalination plants and how it affects the Caribbean.
Mr. Thomaz, for instance, told the students that if they were to collect rainwater for a year, they would need a tank the size of West Bay to hold it. Since that is not feasible – and since Cayman does not have abundant freshwater resources – desalination is the only choice.
“It doesn’t need to be raining to have water in our taps,” Mr. Thomaz said. “There’s an almost unlimited supply of water on this island, because we have salty water all around us.”
Ms. Reid told the students that they can make a major impact on the environment by turning off the faucet while they brush their teeth and by urging their parents to drink tap instead of bottled water.
The lecture included a slideshow, and Mr. Thomaz took the difficult science and related it to topics the children could understand. For example, he taught them about osmosis by saying that if you put a gummy bear in water, the water would naturally fight through the membrane to expand the candy.
“Reverse osmosis,” he said, “is just getting the water back out of the gummy bear.”
One of the slides taught students elemental facts about water around the world, including that people in Africa and Asia walk an average of 3.7 miles to collect potable water. Two-thirds of the water in any home is used in the bathroom, according to the slides the children saw on Tuesday.
The Water Authority and Cayman Water have been conducting their joint education program since 2016, and have visited schools with the hope of teaching students about the local water table.
School visits can be arranged by emailing [email protected] or [email protected] Tours of the Water Authority facility can be arranged by filling out a request form at www.waterauthority.ky/arrange-a-school-visit.