With California facing one of the most severe droughts on record, it was only natural that water conservation became a concentration for the design of Clearwater Elementary School in Perris, CA. Our team pulled out all the stops—bioswales, bioretention, porous surfaces and above-grade cisterns for watering raised garden beds. But when the time came to fund these sustainable features, Perris Elementary School District’s budget had run dry. So, our team stepped in to partner with the district to find a solution to fund the school’s storm water capture strategies and create a learning environment that’s a model for water conservation.

We spearheaded a successful grant proposal for Clearwater Elementary School that awarded the school district with $982,138 as part of the Drought Response Outreach Program for Schools (DROPS) from the California State Water Resources Control Board. The grant directly supports the implementation of storm water capture strategies at Clearwater Elementary by mirroring a regenerative process to restore, renew and revitalize local water sheds. It’s also expected to improve groundwater revitalization through enhanced filtration, reduced runoff volume and storm water pollutants. These strategies are flowed into the school’s curriculum along with access to high quality environmental education resources and experiences through partnerships with the California Regional Environmental Education Community (CREEC), Inland Empire Water Keeper and Wild California.