On Nov. 10, the California Interfaith Power and Light, a faith-based organization committed to protecting the environment, awarded the 2015 Cool Climate Award to Ramona Convent Secondary School in Alhambra. The school won in the category of Water Stewardship.

Sister Anna Keim, SNJM, who helped create an educational program for Ramona students aimed at saving water, accepted the honor on behalf of the all-girls school at an awards ceremony in Oakland. The school’s water education program focuses on water usage as a human right and social justice issue, with California’s drought giving added urgency to these discussions.

As part of the program, representatives from the Alhambra Water District give presentations addressing water runoff and water conservation. Freshmen students and their parents also attend a talk that explains the Sisters of the Holy Names’ opposition to water privatization.

Additionally, each year students organize a Water Assembly to highlight local and global water concerns. Topics include the relationship between water use and fracking, the lack of clean water in developing countries and other water-saving topics. Students are encouraged to practice water-saving techniques, both on campus and at home.

Ramona is also planning to install a network of valves and tubing on school lawns, a technique known as drip irrigation, to further cut back on water usage.