Water Conservation Technician (WCT)
Globally, water issues are at crisis levels. Nationally, water providers are scrambling to replace aging infrastructure, retiring employees and maintain quality and ecologic integrity. Water stressors like climate change, population growth and increasing pollution are compounded by lack of awareness.
Educational opportunities that provide technicians with the skills and knowledge needed to design, implement and evaluate water conservation programs are uncommon in higher education. Agencies have relied on job training until now!
The Water Conservation Technician program is a career-technical curriculum offered as a two-year Associate of Applied Science degree. It trains individuals to evaluate water use patterns; develop, implement, maintain and market conservation programs; perform public outreach; recommend water efficiency techniques; and perform systems analysis to solve problems.
Program Overview: Video
Sustainability, collaboration and interdisciplinary learning provide the foundation upon which a graduate will build skills to conserve resources and money while maintaining ecologic integrity.
Active involvement in the community along with hands-on projects will reinforce practical skills. Program participation will culminate with the option to apply for a Professional Certification offered by the American Water Works Association in partnership with Lane Community College. Live interactive videoconferencing provides a Distance Learning option for future growth of the program beyond Eugene.
Surveys show that water jobs are increasing at a slow to moderate rate with increased growth expected in the next 5-10 years, especially with the retirement of an aging populace as well as increased population and regulations.
The program is run in parallel with the highly successful Energy Management program and emerging sustainability initiatives.
As water concerns increase...
More voluntary and mandatory water conservation programs are being created to lessen demand on current sources and alleviate the need for and cost of added sources.
Western states are experiencing an exponential increase in water-related issues due to over-allocated surface water, decreasing snow pack trends, a doubling population by 2050 and rising pollution. Oregon and Washington already require water conservation plans in order to obtain further water rights, for example.
Locally, water quantity and quality are decreasing. Willamette Valley wells show presence of iron, arsenic, salt and radon. Small Oregon cities, such as Veneta, Coburg, Junction City and Port Orford are facing water stress from increasing population growth, inadequate water supplies or sanitation as well as lack of conservation programs and funding.
Water efficiency programs, the most cost-effective “new” source of water, should be a part of every water management plan.
What You Will Learn
- Design, implement, evaluate and market water conservation programs. Perform public outreach to a broad audience.
- Evaluate usage patterns for rural, urban, residential and commercial sites; recommend water efficiency measures as well as alternate water sources, as appropriate.
- Understand water distribution, flow and elimination systems; basic hydraulics; quality issues; mass balance and time of use. Understand the multiple stressors to water supply and how they interact to affect supply, demand and other issues.
- Monitor, collect, interpret and analyze data to evaluate effectiveness of programs and adjust program over time. Calculate water and cost savings from programs at multiple scales (including cost/benefit analysis).
Requirements and Program Acceptance
A high school diploma (or equivalent) is required for entry into the water program. To graduate with the AAS Degree, students must maintain enrollment in Lane every year. If students do not maintain enrollment year-to-year, they will be subject to the program requirements for the year in which they re-enroll.
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