Urban Waters Civic Action Project


The Urban Waters Civic Action Project (UWCAKP)l combines enhanced STEM education with civic engagement content and tools for high school students to address environmental issues in their communities. Lessons are designed to provide background in earth sciences, chemistry and biology, as well as additional content related to clean water regulations and environmental civic action.

Lesson 1: What is an Eco-Citizen?
This lesson introduces students to the Urban Waters Civic Action Project (UWCAP) to help them understand UWCAP’s goal and rationale. Students are asked to brainstorm what they believe are the most important traits and characteristics of an effective and influential “eco-citizen.”


Lesson 2: The Hydrologic Cycle and Los Angeles Watersheds
This lesson introduces students to watersheds and the basic hydrologic cycle. Students will learn about their local watershed and describe the components of the water cycle and the water balance equation.


Lesson 3: Exploring Urban Waterway Problems (Analyzing Causes & Effects)
In this lesson, students explore the causes and effects of polluted urban runoff. Students will learn about urban hydrology and compare it with the natural environment to look at the different effects of these two on the water balance equation.


Lesson 4: Introduction to Water Public Policy
This lesson helps students understand what public policy is and how policy impacts water-related issues in their community.


Lesson 5: Pollutants and Pollution Indicators (Day One)
This is the first day of a two-part lesson that introduces students to some of the most common water pollutants and their sources.

Lesson 5: Land Use and Pollutants (Day Two)
This is the second day of a two-part lesson. In this lesson, students share their findings of the sources of pollutants, their impact, and the use of indicators as indirect measures of water pollution.


Lesson 6: California Drought and Conservation
This lesson discusses the drought and climate in Los Angeles. Students will investigate the cause of the drought using climate data to understand the various factors at play and learn about Low Impact Development and Green Infrastructure to help alleviate the drought.


Lesson 7: GRADING Environmental Public Policy
In this lesson, students develop a deeper understanding of environmental public policy and policy analysis.


Lesson 8: Industrial Stormwater Pollution (A Moot Court Experience)
In this lesson, students examine the intersection between water policy, legal action, and industrial pollution. First, students learn about the Clean Water Act,  then participate in a moot court proceeding based on a case study, finally students discuss the nuances of tackling industrial water pollution concerns across Los Angeles.


The following extra-curricular lessons are designed to supplement classroom content with activities aligned to essential elements of Project-Based Learning and guides students through the steps of developing civic action projects that focus on urban-water-related issues in their communities.

After School Lesson 1: The Urban Water Cycle
In this lesson students will learn the water balance equation and analyze how different components of the equation change in an urban environment.


After School Lesson 2: Watersheds and LA Climate 
In this lesson students will review the water balance equation, and be introduced to Los Angeles’s climate and drought.


After School Lesson 3: Runoff and Infiltration
In this lesson, students will review the differences between the natural and the urban water cycle and analyze how waterflow changes in stormy versus dry weather.



After School Lesson 4: Ecosystem Health
Students will look at how pollution, channelization, and pumping of water in California wetlands results in the loss of vital ecosystem services.

After School Lesson 5: Major Water Pollutants and Impairments
In this lesson students will learn about the sources and effects of major water pollutants to support their fieldwork data collection.


After School Lesson 6: Regulations and Permits for Clean Waters

In this lesson students will gain a deeper understanding of the organizational hierarchies in water quality management and responsibilities assigned to each agency.


After School Lesson 7: Field Studies

In this lesson, students will take a field trip to a section of their local waterway to gain a first-hand understanding of water quality and habitat health.

Urban Waters Civic Action Project is a partnership of Constitutional Rights Foundation, Los Angeles Waterkeeper, and UCLA: Institute of the Environment and Sustainability.

Last modified: Thursday, 29 March 2018, 1:46 PM