Spotlight on Nampa Stormwater Education

A safe, clean water source is vital to our health and lifestyle. Understanding how our water systems work, and how to safeguard those resources, is key to a successful, thriving community.

That’s why the City of Nampa has been partnering with the Nampa School District for more than a decade to educate students and the broader community on our most important water quality issues.

“As our population grows, we all need to be aware of strategies to keep our water clean and have enough for the next generation,” said Jeff Barnes, Nampa’s public works water resources director.

The partnership focuses on promoting the awareness and importance of clean waterways, with an emphasis on pollution control. The city provides funding for water quality-related educational materials for classroom use, teacher stipends, and technical resources. They also team up with the district and community organizations to host educational events throughout the year, including:

  • Water Education Days – Every spring, fifth graders from across Nampa learn about how to protect our valuable water resources. Students, teachers, and community organizations host booths along the Wilson Creek Pathway behind Nampa High with information and hands-on activities related to water quality. 
  • Community Stormwater Cleanup Day – Volunteers receive a brief lesson on ways to keep waterways clean before heading out to clean storm drains that lead to local waterways. Volunteers also pick up litter in surrounding neighborhoods and mark storm drains with decals to promote keeping debris out of storm drains. 
  • After-school Program – Teams visit after-school programs to put on a fun demonstration about local aquifers. This demonstration teaches students how aquifers work by building an “edible aquifer,” which they get to enjoy afterward.

Spotlight on a Day

Barnes shared the following story about how these educational activities can have a positive impact and even shape students’ futures.

“One of our interns who was helping at Wilson Water Education Day had just graduated from Boise State University’s environmental science program. She had toured the wastewater plant as an elementary student and found it so interesting that she is now interning for the city. She wants that to be her career.

“If kids see what’s going on out there, it could point them in another direction, especially if they are STEM-minded” he said. “I think a lot of kids are environmentally conscious. On the water side, there are a lot of environmental engineering and science jobs they would love to be part of. As our population grows, we all need to be aware of strategies to keep our water clean and have enough for the next generation.

Stormwater Projects

  • The Nampa Educational Rain Garden was completed in June 2021. The garden demonstrates ways to prevent stormwater runoff from polluting our local waterways. You’ll find the garden at Lakeview Park off Garrity Boulevard and 12th Avenue N.
  • The Creeks of Nampa signs found along the Wilson Creek Pathway share information about our watershed and the wildlife it supports. Installed in 2019, they can be found off S. Canyon Street and W. Georgia Avenue.
  • The City Acres Park Stormwater Kiosk was built in 2014 to explain how stormwater run-off affects local streams. This small neighborhood park can be found at 219 4th St. N.

About Nampa’s Water Works Department

Nampa has the largest water resources department in the state of Idaho, boasting 1,000 miles of water/irrigation pipes (that would stretch from here to the Mexican border). Nampa’s water renewal facility recycles 11 million gallons of wastewater per day for the parks and school irrigation systems. That accounts for 15 percent of the city’s total irrigation. A recent upgrade treats the wastewater to a Class A level, the highest level of treatment possible.