Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Wally’s Water Wisdom – Happy Engineers Week!

Hello friends! If you are a frequent blog reader, you may recall that I asked for you to take a rain check on a future lesson about what type of careers you can obtain in the field of STEAM on a previous blog. Given that it is Engineers Week, I have those answers for you for jobs in… well, you guessed it—ENGINEERING.  
As a water enthusiast, did you know about the possible career opportunities if you major in engineering? I sat down (well, I was mostly floating since, you know, I am a water droplet) with two of my engineer friends, Brian Noh and Eddie Lin from IEUA. Both of my friends are Engineers who work outside of the Engineering Department at the Agency. Think of the engineering career as the overall umbrella, but like an umbrella, there are various pieces. Some engineers find their job in an engineering department, and others have a journey in other departments, such as Asset Management or Planning & Resources.

Let’s wave hello to Brian Noh first as he tells us more about his career in Asset Management.

Brian Noh – IEUA Senior Engineer, P.E. Asset Management

Q: What is your educational background?

A: I have a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering.

Q: When did your interest in STEM begin?

A: I immigrated to the United States in junior high school and had to learn a new language. For that reason, I realized at an early age that I probably would not be very competitive in anything linguistic. STEM was much easier and enjoyable than anything linguistic (for me).  

Q: Describe your role to K-12 students interested in using an Engineering degree within the water industry.

A: Engineering, to me, is a logical thought process. Going through the Engineering courses prepares you to make a decision based on science and sound reasoning.     

Thank you to Brian for talking with me and taking us through his journey to a career in water. He is part of a highly collaborative team and a cross-agency effort to continually maximize the Agency’s level of service while minimizing capital, operation & maintenance, and risk costs. His expertise as an Engineer is valued and appreciated.

Now, let’s swim over to say hello to Eddie Lin from Planning & Resources.

Eddie Lin – IEUA Senior Engineer, P.E. Planning & Resources

Q: What is your educational background?

A: I have an Environmental Engineering degree from UC Irvine.

Q: When did your interest in STEM begin?

A: I can’t pinpoint an exact time when my interest began, but I’ve always been curious about how things work. Let’s just say I broke (and occasionally fixed) a lot of toys.

Q: Describe your role to K-12 students interested in using an Engineering degree within the water industry.

A: Whether it is civil/environmental, chemical, electrical, mechanical, or even software engineering, there are tons of opportunities and need in the water industry. Water is also an incredibly important field to be in because, without it, there is no home, city, country, or even life! I work in the Planning & Resources department at IEUA with other Planners/Engineers to figure out how dependable our water supplies are, come up with ways to protect/improve the supplies we have, and put together plans to get more supplies or reduce our usage.

Thanks, Eddie! Wow, is it just me, or do you all feel like you just learned a new sea of engineering information? I know I sure did. It is one of the things I love most about talking with you – I want to educate teachers, parents, and students about water, and that sometimes also means the people who help us accomplish our water goals, like Brian and Eddie.  Our region is lucky to have talented engineers who are enhancing the quality of life in our community with a superior water supply. Happy Engineers Week to all engineers and shout out to all of IEUA’s engineers. Make sure to follow my friends at @IEUAwater on Instagram as we celebrate all week long.

Your friend,


Monday, January 23, 2023

Wally’s Water Wisdom – 2023 Water-Wise Checklist

Hello friends! In the spirit of the new year, it is the perfect time to refresh your water-saving knowledge. As you know by now, California continues to be in a drought, and being water-wise is more crucial than ever. Come with me and dive into a typical day-to-day routine to see where you can adjust your water-use habits. Do you have your notepad ready? You are going to want to write these tips down.

Water-Wise Daily Checklist

Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth. Check!

How can you save water when brushing your teeth? It is easier than you think. All you must do is turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth. Just by turning off the water, you can save as much as 4 to 8 gallons of water. Imagine that – that is 4 to 8 gallons wasted every morning and evening.

Load your dirty dishes into the dishwasher. Check!

If you have a dishwasher, load your used dishes instead of hand washing. Washing a full load of dishes saves up to 15 gallons of water per load. Make sure to only run full loads!

Adjust the sprinklers. Check!

Between now and March, California receives most of its annual rainfall, which makes this an important season to save water on your landscaping. Smart controller + rainfall = a happy lawn. “But Wally, what is a smart controller?” A smart controller automatically adjusts to the weather and selects the best time of day to water, the length of the watering schedule, and the amount of water that is being distributed. Don’t have a smart controller? Make it a priority to always turn off your sprinkler system during and after rainy days. A good practice is leaving the sprinklers off during and for 48 hours after rainfall. Every drop counts. My friends at IEUA offer rebates for residents who install smart controllers. You can learn more about it through their website. 

Evening shower. Check!

Is taking a bath how you typically like ending your night after school, practice, or hanging with your friends? Consider taking a shower instead of soaking in a tub. According to the EPA, a shower uses up to 60 gallons less than a typical bath. That is approximately 400 Starbucks venti cups. I know, I know, that is a latte (a lot) of water.

It looks like you are all caught up now. These small but mighty ways will make a significant difference in 2023. Want to take it a step further? Keep the water-saving going by sharing this blog with your friends and family. Happy New Year and see you all next month with more drops of wisdom!

Your friend,


Thursday, December 8, 2022

Wally’s Water Wisdom – Five Ways to be an Excellent Host to the Earth & Guests

Hi friends! December feels like it came by so quickly. The weather is getting chilly, lights are everywhere and the leaves are falling. While this season can be full of cheer, consider this a time to be mindful of water habits, too. 

If you’re a fan of this blog, you know I like to share a few water-wise reminders before the end of the year. If you’re new to the blog, I am happy to have you here and would love to encourage you to take these reminders into the holiday season. This year’s focus will be on being an excellent host to guests and a friend to the earth for upcoming get-togethers. By following these tips, you are one step closer to being a good environmental steward. You may be asking, “But Wally, what’s environmental stewardship?” In summary, environmental stewardship means you are responsibly protecting the natural environment. What’s my favorite resource to talk about? That’s right—WATER! Let’s talk about how you can be the best host in your home and our home (earth). 

Tip #1: Defrost meat in the refrigerator. 

Defrosting your turkey or chicken? Consider putting the meat in the refrigerator rather than running in under water. This small tip can help you save water when you host family or friends.

Tip #2: No “hosing” down the driveway.

Want to impress your guests with a clean driveway? I bet you do! Consider sweeping your driveway, instead of hosing it down. This small change can make a big difference in water usage and make you feel ready to host.

Tip #3: Run the dishwasher when you have a full load of dishes. 

After preparing a yummy meal for your guests, collect all plates at the end of the evening to run a full load of dishes. Running a full load of dishes instead of handwashing reduces water usage and can even reduce your time spent cleaning up after.

Tip #4: Rinse veggies and fruits in a pan.

When prepping your next meal, use a small pan of cold water to clean your favorite vegetables or fruits rather than letting water run over them. Then, collect the water you used for rinsing and reuse it for house plants. Your guests will enjoy your delicious meal, and your plants will thank you later.

Tip #5: Compost food scraps.

Are you planning on making a loaf of yummy banana bread or delicious eggnog for your friends and family to enjoy? Collect eggshells, bananas or other food scraps to make compost. Did you know that compost can be used as an alternative to fertilizer? That’s right! Even better, if you make your own compost, you will be reducing stormwater runoff of fertilizer and prevent water pollution.

With these five tips, I hope you can practice being a good environmental steward and friendly host during this cheerful season. As always, small actions can make a difference in saving water. See you all next year with more drops of water wisdom and happy holidays!

Your friend,


Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Wally’s Water Wisdom - Celebrating National STEAM Day

Hi, friends! Just dropping in because today is an extraordinary day. Did you know that today is National STEM/STEAM Day? This day is important for my friends at IEUA because the agency depends on brilliant staff and their sharp STEAM skills to operate our most precious resource, WATER!

Let’s swim back to the beginning—do you know what STEM and STEAM stand for? I know what may first come to mind – hot STEAM, like what happens when you take a 5-minute shower. While that’s a good guess, the word we are learning today does not only refer to steaming water. STEAM is an acronym that represents Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. It is important to remember that the ‘A’ for Arts was later added to the first term, STEM.

Speedy History Lesson: The STEM term was created in the early 2000s by Dr. Judith Ramaley during her time at the National Science Foundation (NSF). The term took an exciting wave to arrive where it is now: STEM was initially referred to as SMET. According to Britannica, it has been reported that the NSF would use the term SMET when referring to the cool jobs and learning objectives of what we now know as Science, Math, Engineering, and Technology. Now, you’ll hear teachers, parents, and friends use the term STEM and STEAM instead of SMET.

STEAM Careers: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for employees skilled in STEAM fields is continuously growing. There are multiple pathways into the STEAM workforce nowadays. IEUA staff use one, two, or all STEAM skills in their day-to-day roles. Their skills are so important because if you look at what they are doing – each one of them plays a part in ensuring their service area (that’s what they call the friends they supply water to) gets a reliable, high-quality water supply. All of my friend’s roles at IEUA are like fun puzzle pieces, and we need them to complete the picture.

You may be asking yourself: What type of careers can you obtain in the field of STEAM? Stay tuned as we explore later real-life experiences and STEAM career examples by talking one-on-one with our friends at IEUA in another blog post.

Water Discovery Field Trip: STEAM isn’t just for the staff at a water agency like IEUA; all ages can explore STEAM, and I encourage you to celebrate STEAM beyond today. If you’re reading this blog, you’re already ahead of the game. I enjoy sharing with you new and exciting water-wise tips, but there’s always more to explore. Don’t know where to start? My friends at IEUA invite you to visit the neighboring Chino Creek Wetlands and Educational Park for a Water Discovery Field Trip. Activities will teach students about many water resources, water use efficiency methods, the environment, and more. These water-wise activities align with California State Curriculum Standards; Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM); and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). For more information, visit my c(HOO)ool friend, Owlie, and learn more about the Chino Creek Wetlands and Education Park at

As always, I hope you are doing your part to be water-wise. Remember, by simply picking up after your pets, not overwatering your plants, or turning off the faucet when brushing your teeth, you are making a difference. I will see you all soon with the next drop of water wisdom!

Your friend,


Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Wally’s Water Wisdom- Happy National Water Quality Month!

Hi friends! Can you believe Water Quality Month is here again? It seems like just yesterday I talked to all of you about IEUA’s Water Quality Laboratory in honor of Water Quality Month last year (if you missed that blog post, scroll back to September of 2021).

In case you forgot what National Water Quality Month is all about, let’s recap!  In 2005, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with the support of the United Nations founded August as Water Quality Month to raise awareness of water-use efficiency and the importance of clean water on individual health, collective agricultural needs, and the needs of our environment. IEUA employs over 300 individuals who help assure that these needs are met on a daily basis. I’ve enlisted the help of a few of them to talk to you about their role and how it contributes to water resiliency and reliability for the residents in IEUA’s service area.

First up, Operations Supervisor Ivan Cheng:

“I am proud to be a part of a team who plays a role in our regional water recycling plants, where we treat wastewater into high-quality recycled water for our community to use in irrigation and groundwater replenishment."

Next, we have Environmental Resources Planner II Branden Hodges:

"Working in the Pretreatment and Source Control Department as a permit writer helps ensure that the wastewater received by our Agency is within certain specifications, ensuring that the recycled water product delivered to our Member Agencies is of the highest quality.”

And finally, we have Laboratory Assistant Milena Martinez: 

"As a Lab Assistant, I wear many hats and work with various departments on new and exciting projects. Working at the IEUA Water Quality Laboratory allows me to work with a team of scientists to provide high quality and reliable analytical support to our regional treatment facilities. Our analytical support not only ensures our treatment facilities are operating smoothly but also ensures the water distributed throughout the region is of the highest quality."

It takes a village (literally!) to make sure that the residents in our area have continuous access to a high-quality water supply, and that is all thanks to individuals like Ivan, Branden, and Milena, in addition to many, many others, who help us to do so during Water Quality Month and year-round.

That’s all I have for today friends! I’ll see you all soon with my next drop of water wisdom!

Your friend,


Monday, July 25, 2022

Wally’s Water Wisdom- Learn About Water With IEUA

Hi friends! With the new school year slowly approaching, I wanted to remind you of some of the FREE educational resources available to you, courtesy of IEUA! Not only are these resources engaging and customizable for all ages, but they are also FUN!

Field trips: Schedule an in-person or virtual field trip! In-person field trips take place at IEUA’s neighboring Chino Creek Wetlands and Educational Park, or sit back and relax in your classroom with a virtual field trip featuring the same activities and educational lessons in a virtual format.

Field Trip with Sunshine Montessori in July 2022.
 Wally’s Water Conservation Camp: Enroll in Wally’s Water Conservation Camp- a 20 day, at-home activity guide suited for kids of all ages. Inspired by IEUA’s mission and Water Discovery Field Trips, each activity will teach kids and families about our water resources, sustainability, and environmental stewardship.

Water Scout Badge Program: Earn your Fun Badge by completing our Water Scout Badge Program! The program will teach Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, or anyone looking to learn about water resources, native plants and sustainability while going on a scavenger hunt of the Chino Creek Wetlands and Educational Park.

At-Home Activity Series: The Water Discovery At-Home Activity Guide incorporates hands-on educational activities from our Water Discovery Field Trip Program for grades K-12th. The activities will teach students about water resources, water use efficiency methods, and the environment while aligning with California State Curriculum Standards; Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM); and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). For even more learning, check out each activity’s corresponding videos on our YouTube channel, IEUAWater.

I’m sure you’ll love these resources as much as I do, so be sure to check them out at

That’s all I have for today, friends! I’ll see you all soon with my next drop of water wisdom!

Your friend,


Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Wally’s Water Wisdom – Summer Water Saving Tips

Hi friends! Happy summer! If you’ve been keeping up with my blog posts for a while, then you’ll know that a new season means new watering tips to adjust to the change in weather. Before we get started, it’s important to note that while these are referred to as “summer water saving tips,” they can work year-round as well! So, make sure you are always doing what you can to be water wise as every drop counts! 

  1. Water your yard in the morning or evening. Water evaporates quickly when the sun is high, so getting your lawn watered before sunrise or after sunset will help your lawn retain more moisture, longer. (Be sure to adhere to any water restrictions put in place by your city or local water provider!)
  2. If you have a pool, cover it when it’s not in use. Similar to the previous tip, higher temperatures cause water to evaporate quicker. Covering your pool allows the water to stay in place for the next time you use it!
  3. Shorten your showers. While I’m sure we all love a nice cool shower to refresh from the summer heat, make sure to limit your showers to five minutes or fewer.
  4. Fruit salad, anyone? Rinse fruits and veggies in a bowl instead of holding them under running water. Once you’re done, repurpose the water for the plants in your garden!
  5. Thaw your frozen foods on the counter or in the fridge. Let the summer heat help you prep your meals instead of using our precious water. 

That’s all I have for today, friends. Here’s to a water-wise summer and I’ll see you soon with my next drop of water wisdom.

Your friend,