Meet the Water Warriors. They’re sixth graders from Whiteface, TX, who’ve created a more environmentally friendly way to frack.While most students are concerned about racing home after school to play with their friends, Whiteface Middle School students have a more important job to do. Elizabeth Casarez, Dwayne Scott, Kaden Moses, and Kaleb Ruthardt have a shared goal: to reduce the amount of water wasted in fracking.The Water Warriors are BornCasarez, Scott, Moses, and Ruthardt were the first four members of an afterschool science program called Science Rocks U, sponsored by Whiteface Middle School teacher Laura Wilbanks.
Wilbanks uses Science Rocks U to encourage science learning in a fun environment. Students meet to study scientific issues and conduct experiments after school. It was Science Rocks U that introduced Casarez, Scott, Moses, and Ruthardt to fracking.
When the students read about the effect of fracking on their West Texas community, they got serious about minimizing the amount of water wasted through fracking.
“The way fracking works, they use too much water,” one student said.
Their readings inspired students to conduct a series of tests and experiments involving plants and the flow of water. The middle school scientists were so motivated by their experiments that they started their own water conservation initiative.
They call themselves the Water Warriors.
Fighting for Water Conservation
The Water Warriors believe that technology and innovation hold the key to responsible fracking processes. “We wanted to take a stand and help clean it up for our environment,” Ruthardt shared.
Driven by scientific curiosity and a deep desire to conserve water, Casarez, Scott, Moses, and Ruthardt are committed to a better way. They’ve developed a distiller that would allow them to retrieve much of the water currently used in fracking.
“Each fracking job uses about one million gallons of water. With one of our distillers, we can reclaim 90 percent of that water and reuse it for later,” Ruthardt boasted.
Students’ Hard Work Pays Off
The Water Warriors say that their distiller project was a lot of fun, but that it was hard work, too. “We’ve been working on this project for seven months,” Ruthardt relayed, “about the whole [school] year.”
With Wilbanks’ encouragement, the students’ hard work paid off. The Water Warriors entered one of their fracking studies in an Army-sponsored science competition for students — and won! Each student earned $1,000, which they say they will put toward their college funds.
Although none of the Water Warriors plan to work in the fracking industry after college, they hope that their distiller can be applied to current fracking processes to minimize water waste.
“It is not necessary that we change. Survival, after all, is not mandatory.” — Steve Williams
About the Water Warriors
The Water Warriors is a 6th grade STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) team dedicated to working with the oil industry — hydraulic fracturing in particular. The Water Warriors believe that fossil fuel extraction can be done greener, resulting in a healthier environment, by having the water from fracking collected, cleaned, and reused — and are designing new inventions to do just that.
Visit the Water Warriors Website to learn more about their water conservation solution and their ongoing work on fracking.
Learn what the Water Warriors’ sponsor, Laura Wilbanks has to say about water independence, fracking, and how the fracking industry can lead the way for green fossil fuels in her Conclusion Statement.
Blog Submitted by Michael Suniga, Texas Tech University Student, Lubbock, Texas and edited by Melissa Gilliam Shaw.