Each year the Environmental Interpretive Center at the University of Michigan-Dearborn hosts the Rouge River Water Festival on the first Thursday in the month of May. The annual Water Festival is the oldest, largest water festival held in southeastern Michigan. The first Water Festival was held at UM-Dearborn on May 5, 1998. Since its inception the Water Festival has introduced nearly 30,000 students to the importance of clean water in our everyday lives. The event is offered free to schools and all participating presenters volunteer their time and expertise.
The Rouge River Watershed includes 48 communities in the SE Michigan counties of Wayne, Oakland, and Washtenaw. Each year fifth grade classes from this watershed are invited to participate in the Water Festival. Each participating class is able to attend informative water-themed sessions with invited presenters. Presenters are professionals from local, state, and federal agencies, natural resource groups, universities, museums, NGOs and businesses. Presentations take place at both indoor and outdoor locations across the UM-Dearborn campus. Topics include: municipal, agricultural, and industrial water use, weather, wastewater treatment, soil erosion, wetland biodiversity, and water conservation in the home.