ABC7 Stars: Fremont teen trying to save lives by conserving water

FREMONT, Calif. (KGO) -- A 16-year-old Fremont girl isn't just talking about saving the planet, she's taking her own steps online, in the classroom and on the international stage.

If this is how you think most High School students spend their time, then you haven't met Shreya Ramachandran.

"Two-thirds of the world's population lack access, however, to clean drinking water at least one month out of the year," Ramachandran said.

This is her passion. In a room at the local library, she's practicing a presentation she wrote on ways to save water to an audience of high school students, business leaders and local officials.

"My project is really based on water conservation and trying to find a drought solution."

The Junior at American High School in Fremont is taking AP classes and thinking about college. But all that takes a back seat to her brainchild, something she calls "the Grey Water Project."

"Grey water is lightly used water from sinks, showers, baths and laundries. It's basically any water you've used once in your home and can use again," she said.

She says the average home produces 180 gallons of grey water per day that could be re-used. Not for drinking though.

"You could use grey water for toilet flushing and you can also use grey water for landscape irrigation," Ramachandran said.

It's a subject that intrigued Ramachandran after experiencing droughts in California and in her parents native country of India. She spent four years researching, designing grey water systems and preaching their benefits, that this month she traveled to Sweden where she was awarded the Children's Climate prize and a check for $100,000 kronor -- little more than $10,000 US dollars to continue her work.

"It was amazing. I can't describe it any other way," she said.

Ramachandran is the youngest member of the Fremont Environmental Sustainability Commission, which advises the city council on environmental matters, and regularly speaks to groups from elementary school age to senior citizens.

With all of that, can she still find time to be a kid?

"I mean, yeah. My friends and I still hang out, we still talk about school and we - like - Facetime about homework."

When it comes to college, Ramachandran isn't sure yet whether she wants to stay local, or maybe take a shot at the Ivy League.

Whatever route she takes, this ABC7 Star will still be drawn to ways to make our planet a better place to live.

Learn more about Shreya Ramachandran's nonprofit The Grey Water Project here. Explore programs like the Water Challenge and Report your Water Savings. She may also be available to lead workshops!

See more ABC7 Stars where you live here.
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