KLAMATH FALLS – Students at Klamath Community College are learning more about local water issues thanks to a scholarship provided by a local producer.
Ryan Kliewer, a farmer from R&L Hay & Grain, sponsored the merit-based scholarship, which is disbursed to students enrolled in the college’s water resource science course. The scholarship covers the cost of the course’s lab component.
In the past, students enrolled in water resource science met only three hours a week for lecture. Now, the course is a combined lecture/lab format that meets for three hours, twice a week, explained Keith Duren, KCC’s agriculture science program lead.
“With this new lab, we can more thoroughly explore all the topics to give students a full learning experience,” he said.
In addition to spending more time in the seat, students are using lab time to delve into complex contemporary water issues. They are learning about water law, how water delivery systems work, the economics of water, and the physical properties of water and how it interacts with everything else, particularly in the Klamath Basin.
“We all know what water is. That’s not the same thing as understanding how it’s allocated and utilized,” Duren said.
“I could talk about water in a historical context and how they divided it up 100 years ago, but it’s kind of meaningless if you’re trying to use water today. Essentially, we’ve modernized the curriculum and made it more locally important.”
The course’s lab component also provides time for guest speakers to discuss local water issues and for field trips, such as attending the annual Klamath Water Users Association harvest tour, which visits several ag producers in the Klamath Project.
“There is really no better place to learn about water resource issues than right here in the Klamath Basin,” said Scott White, executive director of the Klamath Water Users Association.
“These issues are complex and difficult, but what these students are learning and the skills they are developing can be used anywhere in the world where water is limited.”
KCC’s water resource science course is open to any student enrolled at the college, not just ag science students, Duren said. He encourages anyone interested in resource management to consider taking the course.
“Water is pretty important, no matter if you’re interested in it from a wildlife perspective, an economics perspective or an agriculture perspective,” Duren said.
Press release provided from Klamath Community College.