PHS student water savvy

By From page A13 | May 02, 2014


WATER SPOT FINALIST Paul Melville at Ponderosa High School Wednesday April 30. Democrat photo by Pat Dollins

As the drought progresses, it’s important to get everyone on board to conserve water. In the interests of getting the word about water conservation out, almost 80 high school students from the Sacramento region participated in the 2014 Water Spots Video Contest, put on by the Regional Water Authority.

Paul Melville, a 16-year-old junior from Ponderosa High School, was one of the 10 finalists in the contest. “I heard about the contest from a friend who was doing it for one of his classes and I thought, ‘Cool. I like making videos.’”

Chemistry teacher Kal Lowden sponsored Melville’s entry. “We’ve been talking about the drought a little in class,” said Melville.

Melville had only made experimental videos with his cousins before, but he got to work doing the research. “The contest was about overspray and runoff, which wastes water. I started learning about overspray and found out that it’s all about having your sprinklers properly aligned. I learned how easy it is to turn the sprinkler a different direction and waste less water.”

Using his camera phone and KeyNote for the technical screens, Melville put together and edited his video. The 34-second video features high-energy techno music and views of sprinklers that face out toward sidewalks instead of toward the lawn they are supposed to water. Informational screens let you know that a sprinkler uses more water in one hour than three people use in an entire day, but don’t worry, there is a revolutionary solution:  Turn the sprinkler head in the direction of the lawn.

The videos of all the 10 finalists were shown on the Raley’s field Jumbotron during the RiverCats game on April 13. “That was really cool, but I couldn’t go because I had to do something else, ” said Melville,” but it will look good on my resume.”

While Melville didn’t win the top honor, he is thinking about making advertising and promotional videos in the future.

All of the 2014 Water Spots finalist videos can be seen on Be Water Smart’s YouTube channel at


Wendy Schultz

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