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Bonsall High students visit Rainbow Water to explore careers in the water industry

FALLBROOK – Rainbow Municipal Water District (Rainbow Water) hosted Bonsall High School students and staff for a field trip on April 25, where students took a guided tour through Rainbow Water headquarters to learn about STEM careers in the water industry.

Over a dozen students were immersed in a behind the scenes look at the day-to-day operations of engineering, finance, information technology (IT), meter services, and water quality.

The field trip was the third hosted by Rainbow Water since 2023 and began with an introduction on the many STEM careers available at the agency followed by a presentation from the engineering department.

Students learned about the planning and design aspects of water infrastructure and were given full-size blueprints of an existing shopping center development to practice identifying water and utility lines with colored highlighters and a scale ruler.

After seeing plans on paper, students were guided to a small trench with visible pipeline where the field operations and construction teams demonstrated how they work with the engineering department to survey job sites.

"We use technology as part of our jobs to document work on our devices, monitor water pumping from tanks to lift stations and collaborate with teams in the field," said Chad Williams, Engineering and Capital Improvement Project Program Manager. "Science and math play a vital role in gathering information to facilitate the process of contracting with construction and engineering firms that initiate the build out of our capital improvement projects."

Students visited with the Rainbow Water meters team to explore how they capture water usage across 344 miles of pipelines and 9,000 metered connections to ensure delivery of safe and clean water to the community.

Hands-on learning opportunities were the highlight of the field trip, as students viewed demonstrations of water pressure followed by their own opportunity to test water flow through a meter.

"Maintenance of our infrastructure is a big part of making sure water runs efficiently," said Ed Bradley, a 35-year Technical Services Lead at Rainbow Water. "We are proactive and prepared to perform maintenance to ensure water can go into tanks to then allow water to continuously flow through the community."

Bradley and the IT team detailed the various technologies used in water management including the build of in-house software programs to streamline processes and the remote management of water and wastewater through the use of the SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system.

A small-scale simulation of SCADA was demonstrated to show students how the team works to monitor and control water remotely to eight pump stations, four reservoirs, and 13 storage tanks located throughout the district.

The field trip was made possible through a Community Programs Grant awarded by the Metropolitan Water District last December. The grant funding provided students with construction hats, safety gear, engineering plans with scale rulers, and a STEM electronics project kit to practice skills displayed for programming microcontrollers.

"We absolutely love having our local students out for these field trips to give them hands-on experience with the inner workings of a public utility," said Jake Wiley, Rainbow Water General Manager. "The water industry is essential to the communities they serve, and these field trips provide an opportunity to enlighten students to the many career paths available to them."

Submitted by Rainbow Municipal Water District.


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