CyberFair Project ID: 5846

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: A Future SWITCH City—Sustainable Development of Water Resources in Kaohsiung
Category: 7. Environmental Awareness

School: Kaohsiung Municipal Cianjhen Senior High School
    Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, Republic of China

21 students, ages 16-18 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 21, 2009. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 2009

Classes and Teachers: Tsung-han Yung, Jia-wun Jhao, Siang-yin Lin, Wun-jhih Chen

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Our local community is the irrigation area of Caogong Canal on Kaohsiung Plain, which is located in the south of Taiwan. The southern part of Taiwan is known for its rainy summer and dry winter. The local weather that features 90% of the annual rainfall centering in summer (from May to October) has made “water” a decisive element for local development. To solve the irrigation problem on the Kaohsiung Plain, Caogong Canal plays an indispensable role. Sources of Houjin River, Love River, and Cianjhen River as well as Cheng Ching Lake, Shezihlinpi Lake, and Lotus Lake in Kaohsiung all have to do with Caogong Canal, too. Therefore, our scope of research is mainly focused on the irrigation region of Caogong Canal, based on which we will discuss the water resources in Kaohsiung. Water of Caogong Canal primarily comes from Gaoping River. The irrigation region of the Canal reaches Houjin River in the north, Gaoping River in the east, Taiwan Strait in the west and southwest, and mouth of Gaoping River in the south. In terms of administrative regions, it encompasses Kaohsiung City and Kaohsiung County, including Dashu Township, Renwu Township, Niaosong Township, Daliao Township, Linyuan Township, and Fongshan City.

2. Summary of Our Project

Kaohsiung Plain is the most densely populated region in southern Taiwan. The construction of Caogong Canal laid the groundwork for prosperity in the greater Kaohsiung region. However, as the industrial development advances and the population increases, pollution of water resources in Kaohsiung has become more and more serious day by day. Floods upon pouring rain are also a nightmare for many people. In recent years, the government and the grassroots society started to make efforts for sustainable development of water resources. It is also our hope that through this research we can understand the relationship between water and cultural assets, water and industrial development, and water and ecological environment, based on which we can try to find a solution for sustainable development. For the past few years, many countries around the world have started to make efforts for sustainable development of water resources. For example, the Sustainable Water Management Improves Tomorrow’s Cities Health (SWITCH) sponsored and implemented by the European Union subsidized and helped 10 demonstrative cities around the world stipulate sustainable water resources management and development strategies. We hope that by establishing a network platform on the concept of SWITCH, we can let efforts made for sustainable water resources in Kaohsiung known to more people. We also hope that we can introduce this EU SWITCH project into Kaohsiung and even turn Kaohsiung into an exemplary city for the project one day.

3. Our Computer and Internet Access

A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:more than 50%

B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:none

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:4-6

E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):

Our school provides Fiber for linking to the Internet with an upload speed of 100 MB and download speed of 100 MB. With such advanced equipment, we can receive the Internet message on campus everywhere. Our school has two Computer Classrooms with 60 personal computers available for students to use. Every computer is provided with an exclusive line for connecting to the Internet and various web services are available for application through the server. The school’s servers include Web Server, Mail Server, and DNS Server that provide convenient online application environment. Every student has his or her own E-mail address and has the capability of web making.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

1. Short time When we signed up for the cyberfair, it was already mid December, which means that we had to accomplish so much within two months. The time is very short. In addition, there were the final exam and Chinese New Year vacation in between. Therefore, we were panicking. Fortunately, everyone was able to stay together and make it through the hard times. Everyone was participating and learning in each visit, investigation, and seminar proactively. After reflection, we also quickly came up with the research journal recording the feedback. During vacations and holidays, we often burned the midnight oil at the computer. The hard work is beyond description. Finally, we successfully completed this challenge. 2. Conflict with school class time Senior high school is the period of time with the most school work. Besides assignments from school, students have a full schedule of after-school academic programs. Under such circumstances, arrangements of each field trip and seminar accordingly become a problem. Fortunately, everyone managed their time well and stroke a balance between the side work and the after-school academic programs. We are proud to say that we made it! 3. Insufficient experience Since this was our first time to take part in the cyberfair, many things were new to us. Even the field trips and interviews were our firsts. Lack of experience also caused some problems. For example, we forgot to bring a camera or recording device on a field trip and we did not know how to facilitate an interview, etc. However, these problems will not happen again after this invaluable competition experience. 4. Short of background knowledge Caogong Canal was the first issue that we came to contact with. It was difficult and hard to understand at first sight. Before we established complete concepts, we always thought that Caogong Canal was a mysterious canal. However, after three field trips, the guidance and explanation from many experts, and the assistance from the Taiwan Caogong Canal Web, these sporadic concepts were able to be integrated. Now we have not only had more knowledge of the Caogong Canal but also proven “where there is a will, there is a way.” 5. Insufficient information equipment Although we belong to the so-called “Generation E” now, there are some members on our team who do not have a computer or Internet access at home. Fortunately, the school sometimes keeps the multimedia classroom open for everyone to …

5. Our Project Sound Bite

Be grateful for what the Mother Earth has given us and do our utmost to repay her.

6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?

At school, local culture teaching is often mentioned. In our geography class, there are the “field trip” and “local culture research” units. However, what they teach in the book is theory and what we did in this research project for the Taiwan School Cyberfair was practice. We did not only physically visit the geographical site but also conduct the local research. The field trip experience enabled us to have solid knowledge of the land we live on and understand local water resources. Local geographical education starts with precise site investigation and the concept of water resources conservation also roots in actual field trips.

Project Elements

1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?

During the data collecting and recording process, e.g. field trips, we needed tools like recorders and cameras and accordingly learned the photo-taking skills, including the angle and lighting for important pictures. After the pictures were taken, we learned to trim and modify pictures with PhotoImpact and shrink the file of the pictures. Every time we arrived at a location, there was always someone to record the longitude and latitude of the site through GPS. Under the guidance of the teacher, everyone also learned to find the actual location on Google Earth with the recorded longitude and latitude. After we captured the location, we used PhotoImpact and made it into the map needed for the “field trip” webpage. During the course of the research, we needed interviews to find answers for many questions. Before each interview, we had to get a hold of the subject and know questions to ask. We also had to learn how to act quickly at the time of each interview. The interviews were recorded and videotaped besides being documented in writing so that we could produce audio/visual records on the conversation and interview after each interview before compiling them under “Personal interviews” on the website. The research for the Taiwan School Cyberfair had to be presented through web pages. We also learned how to configure a website, upload information, and edit the web page, among other web page producing techniques accordingly.

2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.

In light of the fact that many aspects that we were researching were those that we did not have exposure to in the past, we needed more informative courses and data collection to make the research successful. We accordingly invited several off-campus professionals to give us lectures on related topics. For example, Mr. Wu-cian Jheng, the person in charge of the Fongyi Chishan Cultural Workshop, explained the origin of Caogong Canal and how it is related to Jin Cao. Ms. Yi-jhen Sie of Wetlands Taiwan provided us with information on the construction, preservation, and utilization of ecological environments for canals and wetlands and shared valuable experiences with us. Professor Lei Yang of the Department of Marine Environment and Engineering, National Sun Yat-Sen University taught us how to apply the EU SWITCH model in the Gaoping River System restoration program. Mr. Tai-ying Lu, Executive Director of Kaohsiung City Green Association, let us know the humanity history of canals and tribes and operations on river banks. Teacher Yi-lun Sie of Dong Guang Elementary School also shared with us her prior experience with the cyberfair. Their professional and insightful explanations helped further our knowledge of water resources and gave us explicit ideas where to begin with the research topic. During our field trip, the geographical teacher from our school arranged everything for us. Moreover, Teacher Wun-cian Jheng of the Fongyi Chishan Cultural Workshop guided us through the whole investigation and was enthusiastic in explaining everything. Under his guidance, we visited every part of the basin of Caogong Canal. The passion of Teacher Jheng with local cultural education was deeply felt by us during the process! He did not only know each tiny spot of the basin very well but also make the originally difficult investigation much easier for us with detailed explanations. In addition, during the field trip, we were lucky to meet local people who were also very eager to share with us their daily experiences so that we could know the location better! During the field trip, we corresponded with the people we were going to interview by phone and set up the interview time. Before we arrived at the site, we would make sure that we had all the information we needed at hand. While we were composing the research report, we also discussed with each other and exchanged information through online tools, such as e-mail, MSN, and Yahoo instant messenger, etc.

3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?

In this research, we were not only scholars but also researchers, inspectors, and even unknown reporters because we interviewed people and asked what they thought and their experience. We also had to visit on site many water facilities and interview related personnel for their professional opinions. Moreover, we had to establish correlation among the many data we had on hand and their consequences. Other than that, we also hoped that this research could draw people’s attention to regeneration of Caogong Canal and knowledge of a new Kaohsiung with flowers blossoming on river banks. Therefore, the role we play in our locality should be the best young trooper that loves the environment and cares about the great nature.

4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?

(1) Teacher Jheng is the person in charge of the Fongyi Chishan Cultural Workshop and has very advanced knowledge and understanding of the Caogong Canal. Thanks to his connections and guidance, we were able to visit many locations and expose ourselves in the friendly nature. (2) Professor Yang is an expert in marine and water resources and has abundant knowledge in this aspect. He instilled the concept of EU SWITCH program into our mind and combined it with our appeal. He is truly one of the people we are greatly indebted to. (3) Teacher Lu is the executive director of the Green Association. He showed us many great slides and pictures on Love River and Caogong Canal so that we could understand the history of Love River and reservoirs and the many problems facing them now. He also proposed many solutions. (4) Mr. Huang shared with us his plans and ideas and helped us understand that ecology, landscapes, and humanity are closely interrelated. (5) Chairman Lu of the Farm Irrigation Association provided us information on irrigation water from Caogong Canal and its pollution problem and showed us some proactive measures the Association took to solve the problems. (6) Director-general Li of the Water Resources Bureau of the Kaohsiung County Government explained to us restoration works on Fongshan River, and Caogong Canal. He brought forth many plans and issues and provided us with lots of useful information. (7) The Gaoping River Weir interpreter and engineer introduced many water Treatment facilities to us and reminded everyone to treasure water resources that we have. (8) The former principal of Cianjhen Senior High School explained the Sustainable Kaohsiung and Happy Life program from the education point of view and provided us, the students, with a way to do something for our community. We found it very useful. (9) The interpreter at Jhongjhou Sewage Treatment Plant explained in details each sewage-Treatment step and method with assistance of a simulated flow chart. He also introduced the old and obsolete equipment. In addition to those mentioned above, there are still plenty of other people who also make great contributions to the completion of this project. We would like to express our gratitude to them all.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

(1) Discoveries To conduct this “The Future SWITCH City – Sustainable Development of Water Resources in Kaohsiung” research, we discovered the threat facing the Caogong Canal brought about by scarcer and scarcer water resources. We also saw restored landscapes on both banks of Caogong Canal by the Kaohsiung City Government and constructions like the wetland park. Through visits, we also became aware of the efforts still needed to be made to restore the Caogong Canal in the future. Therefore, as long as we are devoted and look at the Caogong Canal from the perspective of restoration and reutilization, for Kaohsiung to become a SWITCH city will no longer be an unrealistic dream! The discoveries we made are the best fruits we get from this research project. (2) Lessons Caogong Canal rose amidst the industrial and commercial development on the Kaohsiung Plain. Farmlands were turned into urban constructions and industrial zones. Farmlands and water resources have been disappearing at a fast speed. The cultural landscapes alongside the canal were destroyed. People have gradually forgotten how life was with the canal. The irrigation function of Caogong Canal has also gradually been replaced by daily necessities, which is a great pity. At this time when water resources are in shortage, to achieve the goal of “live with water”, it is absolutely necessary to solve problems like floods and bad water quality. After all, only by promoting the concept of sustainable development of water resources can people have better quality of life. (3) Surprises The wisdom of our ancestors 170 years ago is gradually transforming into an intellectual treasury housing cultural landscapes and carrying significant historical meaning. The various municipal constructions promoted by the Kaohsiung City Government at the downstream of Caogong Canal have started to show the sunny, healthy, and energetic side of this city by the sea. It is our belief that once the “Gaogaoping River System Restoration” program is implemented, it will effectively solve the problems facing the Caogong Canal river system and will sure persuade scholars and experts at EU to include Kaohsiung as one of the exemplary cities for the EU “SWITCH” program.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 5846)

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