Monday, December 15, 2014

Episode 244 (12-14-15): What Makes a Virginia Water Lesson?

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (3:16)

Transcript, photos, and additional notes follow below.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of December 15, 2014.This week, we listen in as several groups of college students try to answer the question, “What do Virginia’s over 8 million residents need to know about their water resources?”  Sound big?  Well, just have a listen for about 40 seconds. 


Those were excerpts from Virginia water lessons, created and produced by students in the fall 2014 Virginia Tech course, Introduction to Water Resources, taught by Luke Juran of Tech’s Department of Geography.  The challenge for each of six small groups of students was to prepare a brief lesson on a topic of significance to Virginia’s water resources.  The groups were allowed to choose their presentation format among video, audio, or live performance.  But all groups had to take on some topic that seemed broadly significant to Virginia, and they had to have reliable sources to back up any stated facts or assertions.  Here are the six topics that, collectively, attracted these students’ attention: management of biosolids; stormwater runoff; growth impacts on Virginia’s major river basins; Blue Crabs; bottled water pros and cons; and possible impacts of proposed natural gas pipelines on local water supplies, including water used in Virginia’s craft breweries.

Are these among the most important water issues for Virginia?  The Commonwealth’s 8.2 million residents may or may not agree.  But for many Virginians, at least some water situation probably makes them say, [STUDENT VOICE] “It’s a huge issue!  [What] could be a solution?”  And getting college students thinking creatively about water issues, information, and communication methods is one step towards solutions for Virginia’s large, complex, water-using public.

For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  From the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

SHOW NOTES[All Internet addresses mentioned were functional as of 12/15/14]

Virginia’s major river basins were the topic of one of six Virginia water lessons done by Virginia Tech students during fall 2014.  Shown above are (top) the New River at Eggleston (Giles County) in August 2014; (middle) the James River at Scottsville (Albemarle County) in February 2009; and (bottom) the Potomac River at Mt. Vernon in January 2005.

The Virginia water lessons described in this episode were done in fall 2014 by Virginia Tech students taking Geography/Natural Resources 2004: Introduction to Water Resources, taught by Dr. Luke Juran, Virginia Tech Department of Geography/Virginia Water Resources Research Center.  For more information, visit Dr. Juran’s Web site at, or contact him at or (540) 231-0265.  Thanks to Dr. Juran and his students for making their lessons available for use in this episode.

The topic areas of the six lessons produced by student groups were the following:
Biosolids management (skit performed in class);

Bottled water pros and cons (audio, done as a radio report);

Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs (poem recited in class);

Impacts of growth on Virginia river basins, as discussed in an imaginary Virginia Department of Environmental Quality meeting (skit performed in class);

Porous pavement and its application in stormwater-runoff management (video);

Water quality’s connection to craft-beer brewing and potential impacts on water of proposed natural gas pipelines (video).

Source for this Episode
Information on Virginia’s population was taken from the U.S. Census Bureau’s “State and County Quick Facts” Web site, online at, on 12/15/14.  The number used is the episode script was based on the Census Bureau’s 2013 estimate of Virginia’s population at 8,260,405.

Related Virginia Water Radio Episode
Episode 243, 12/8/14
: “Water’s Complexity, Connections, and Challenges Await Students as Virginia Tech’s Undergraduate Water Resources Degree Debuts in 2015.”

SOLs Information for Virginia Teachers

This episode may help with Virginia Science Standards of Learning (SOLs) in Earth Science (ES.6 and ES.8) and in Biology (BIO.8).