DWR strives to help Californians of all ages learn about water, including where it comes from, how we use it, and how to conserve it. We provide a variety of resources to K-12 teachers, parents, scout leaders, and other non-formal educators, to encourage water education in and out of the classroom.
Our free supplementary materials can be used to help develop lessons about California’s diverse water resources. We are in the process of updating our materials to better support the state standards and align with contemporary teaching approaches. Please check back to see what we have added.
The links below provide access to water education resources including real-time data, online games, and local agency programs.
We also support single- and multi-day professional development opportunities, including training in the Project WET curriculum. Through partnerships with the Water Education Foundation, County Offices of Education, and others, we have provided training to more than 1,000 teachers since 2015. Contact one of our three visitor centers if you are in interested in taking your students on a field trip.
Additional environmental literacy resources from local, state, and federal agencies can be found on the California Environmental Education Interagency Network (CEEIN) website.
Learn about the water cycle, water treatment, aquatic ecosystems, and more through live-programs, virtual tours, and easy-to-follow at-home projects specifically developed to support teachers and families during COVID-19 distance learning.
Join DWR scientists as they discuss California water resources and the research that they are working on. Register to attend weekly programs and ask questions of the scientists on Zoom or view on our YouTube Channel at any time.
State Water Project Virtual Tour
Visit sites along the State Water Project without leaving home. The SWP virtual reality tour is available at the Apple App store or the Google Play Store. VR goggles required for optimal viewing. The tour can also be viewed without VR goggles on YouTube as a narrated 360-degree fly through in English, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese.
Use DWR videos to create interactive lessons or assign existing DWR-created lessons. New video lessons added weekly.
Parents and teachers can access lesson plans and tutorials for hands-on activities from the award-winning Project WET 2.0 guide. Students can learn independently with online activities about the importance of soap and water, their local watershed, water conservation, and more. Select Project WET activity books can be ordered from DWR.
The Inland Empire Resource Conservation District and City of San Bernardino Municipal Water Department offer online, hands-on lessons on watersheds, the water cycle and more.
California’s variable climate, unique hydrologic system, and diverse geography make water management an ongoing challenge. Learn more about the complexities facing water managers, discover the solutions they’ve developed to provide water when and where it is needed, or view real-time precipitation, stream flow, and other data.
California Water Basics General overview of critical California water topics including agriculture, climate change, the Delta, groundwater, and more.
State Water Project History Synopsis of water development in California from the 1860s through the construction of the State Water Project (SWP).
State Water Resources Control Board: California Water Law Summary of California water law, including riparian, appropriative, public trust, groundwater, and water transfers.
State Water Resources Control Board: Groundwater basics, including water quality.
Water Education Foundation An impartial non-profit that works to create a better understanding of water issues and help resolve water problems through educational programs.
The following resources provide additional technical and scientific resources to learn about the water cycle, watershed health, and other important water topics. Explore how technology and science are used to make water use decisions, and issues facing communities throughout the United States and the world.
California Data Exchange Center (CDEC) DWR’s real-time data on river conditions, water supply, statewide water conditions, and other hydrologic data.
Water Data Library Interactive map that allows you to search by zip code for data on groundwater levels and water quality
California Natural Resources Agency Open Data Datasets on wildlife, water, oceans, energy, conservation, and recreation.
Cal Adapt Climate Tools Charts, maps, and data of observed and projected climate variables in California, including annual precipitation, sea level rise, and snowpack data.
Water Forum River Temperature, flow and storage data for the lower American River.
Western US Climate Data Data summaries of climate data including precipitation, relative humidity, temperature and more for over a dozen California cities.
NASA Precipitation Education Learn about the water cycle, weather and climate, how technology is used to study water and how this information is used to make the world a better place.
USGS Current Water Conditions Daily groundwater, surface water, and water quality conditions in California.
USGS: California Water Science Center Source for real-time data and scientific research and analysis.
NOAA Freshwater Education Resources Information about the water cycle, watersheds, flooding, and other critical water issues.
NOAA Tides and Currents Tides, currents, meteorological, sea level, and other data
US EPA Water Topics Find local water quality reports and information on wastewater, water pollution, and more.
United Nations Water, Water Facts Explore global water issues including climate change, water quality, transboundary water, human rights, and scarcity.
Water conservation, rain or shine, is essential for a healthy and sustainable California. Find ways to help save water in your home and community.
Save Our Water Find ways to conserve water inside and outside your home.
Water Efficient Landscaping In parts of California, outdoor irrigation accounts for up to half of urban water use. Find tips to reduce water use, improve habitat for pollinators, and save money.
Guide to Removing Your Lawn Step-by-step instructions to help you replace your lawn with water efficient landscaping, potentially reducing your home water use by 40 percent.
Water Footprint Calculator Discover your water footprint and tips on how to save water.
US EPA Water Recycling Learn about how we can reuse wastewater to reduce our demands on limited fresh water sources.
California Water Boards, Water Conservation Portal See ways to conserve water, learn about policies and laws, and discover assistance and resources that can help you save water.
Formal and non-formal educators can access curriculum, other teaching materials, and professional development opportunities to help them teach about water. Most links lead to programs that are aligned with state standards and incorporate California’s environmental principles and concepts.
Education and the Environment Initiative (EEI) The K-12 EEI Curriculum uses the environment as a context to help students learn science and history-social science. The curriculum is a model for educators to demonstrate how to integrate environmental literacy into classroom instruction.
Project WET Foundation Internationally recognized non-profit organization that provides resources for educators including the Project WET curriculum and other teaching resources.
JPL-NASA: Water Filtration Challenge NGSS aligned activity where students are challenged to design and build a water filtration device.
JPL-NASA: Modeling a Water Budget NGSS and CCSS aligned activity where students use California precipitation totals and evapotranspiration data to calculate and graph water deficits and surpluses.
USGS Water Science School Collection of resources including links to classroom materials and general information on the water cycle, groundwater, water quality and more. Also has information in Spanish and Chinese.
California Regional Environmental K-12 Education Consortium (CREEC) The CREEC promotes environmental education and environmental literacy by providing teachers with access to high quality professional learning opportunities and education resources.
California Environmental Education Foundation (CEEF) Best Practices on Environmental Education and Stewardship Professional development opportunity for teachers that integrates water education, the 5E learning model, and NGSS.
Project WET California Workshops Project WET (Water Education for Teachers) workshops introduce teachers to the Project WET curriculum, a classroom-ready set of lessons that facilitate and promote awareness, appreciation, knowledge, and stewardship of water resources. Currently being offered online.
Project Wild Aquatic The Aquatic WILD K-12 Curriculum & Activity Guide is available to formal and non-formal educators who attend an Aquatic WILD training. It offers hands-on activities with an emphasis on aquatic wildlife and aquatic ecology.
Many local water providers have education programs that provide classroom resources, in-class presentations, or opportunities for field trips. If your provider is not listed below, contact them and ask about their education programs.
World Water Day Learn about the importance of water and how billions of people live without access to safe and clean water.
National Fix a Leak Week National event to encourage people to conserve water through fixing household leaks.
National Groundwater Awareness Week Learn about the importance of groundwater and how it impacts our lives.
California Flood Preparedness Week Be aware of your flood risk, know how to be prepared, and when to take action.
California King Tides Project Citizen science opportunity to help people visualize future sea levels by observing the highest high tides of today.
Sacramento Creek Week Weeklong event connecting residents to their local creeks, culminating with a creek cleanup and community celebration.
Oroville Salmon Festival Celebrate the return of the salmon to the Feather River with a family-friendly event.
California Coastal Cleanup Day Join thousands of other volunteers to remove trash and recyclables from our beaches, lakes and waterways.
Great Sierra River Cleanup Remove trash and restore the health of the waterways throughout the Sierra Nevada region. Help in conjunction with California Coastal Cleanup Day.
Guadalupe River Park Conservancy Water Festival Educational festival at Guadalupe River Park & Gardens in San Jose to teach local students hands-on science lessons on topics such as water conservation, pollution prevention, the value of water as a natural resource, and how people can affect their watershed
Caring for Our Watersheds Contest High school students who live in the Sacramento River and San Joaquin River Watersheds in Yolo, Solano, Sacramento, Colusa, Yuba, Sutter, Glenn, El Dorado, Placer, and San Joaquin counties are invited to submit their ideas on what they can do to improve the health of their watersheds. Schools and students are eligible for cash prizes.
Cal Water H2O Challenge A project-based, environmentally-focused competition for classrooms, grades 4-6, who are located in a Cal Water Service Area.
High-level research is essential for helping us understand the challenges and develop best practices for managing water our water resources.
DWR Apprenticeship Program DWR offers a paid apprenticeship program that can lead to a fulfilling and lucrative career in the hydroelectric industry. The program combines hands-on-learning, classroom study, and home study with supervised on-the-job training.
UC Davis, Center for Watershed Sciences Nonpartisan interdisciplinary research unit of the John Muir Institute of the Environment, dedicated to help building understanding of and solve California's complex water problems.
Stanford University, Water in the West A joint program of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and the Bill Lane Center for the American West that provides tools and partnerships to address the question - how can the region continue to thrive despite growing water scarcity?
Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes Research center at Scripps Institute of Oceanography that provides 21st century water cycle science, technology, and outreach to support effective policies and practices that address the impacts of extreme weather and water events on the environment, people, and economy of Western North America.
California Institute for Water Resources The California hub for a national network of water research institutions. Run through the University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Desert Research Institute Non-profit research arm of the Nevada System of Higher Education and recognized world leader in investigating the effects of natural and human-induced environmental change and advancing technologies aimed at assessing a changing planet, including water sustainability, hydrologic science, and climate change.
NASA: Western Water Resources Homepage for NASA office that provides remote sensing-based information to help scientists and policy makers understand snowpack, precipitation, groundwater, soil moisture conditions, and more.
Information written specifically for kids (but helpful for adults, too) and fun online games about water.
US EPA, WaterSense for Kids Water conservation ideas and game for kids.
Water Education Foundation, Water Kids Information about the water cycle, Earth’s water supply, water use, and conservation.
Project WET Foundation, Discover Water Games, videos, and more that help kids discover the role that water plays in their lives.
The Water Cycle School Interactive water cycle poster for upper elementary and middle school kids.
Water Star Detective Fun game to find the water waster.
Albert and Einstein Water Safety Materials Free resources to help kids learn how to be safe when visiting rivers, lakes, and reservoirs