Epping Views Primary school has used initial building infrastructure funds to purchase a water tank placed near our oval. In the past twelve months we have used funds from the Victorian Solar grant and the National School Pride grant to purchase a further seven tanks and place irrigation lines through the oval. Overall we have the capacity to collect 270,000L of storm water, with all of this used to water all lawn and grass areas. The automated drip and sprinkler system is set to timers and feeds our oval when there is least amount of sun, maximising water coverage.
Epping Views PS Water Project
The major challenge for implementing the infrastructure as mentioned has been the cost to implement such measures. Initially the drip system had been put into the school prior to the buildings constructed, saving a considerable amount of money. Spending money in this area has meant there has been little funds in the school for other projects. We have been fortunate with the two grants we have been able to purchase the seven other tanks as well as putting in the irrigation system. Upon completion of these water works, the school then had all rocks removed from the oval and then the oval seeded. Both of these latter projects were part of the building contract. To ensure all storm water is collected, except for the car park, the school has put in a sump pump that pumps the storm water into all of the tanks. Further we have ensured that the irrigation system, which can use up to 5,000L when on, is cycled to run at the most efficient times, when there is least amount of sun and when students are not in the school.
In February 2009 our school was audited as part of the School Water Efficiency Program (SWEP). To attain SWEP accreditation the school needs to implement water savings measures identified in the audit with a view of earning back the savings within three to five years. At the time we had only three water tanks in the school (now 11), self flushing and water saving urinals, water saving drinking bubblers and tank to toilet flushing in two buildings. Implementing the measures from the audit found we would make the savings back in approximately ten years, this alone gained SWEP accreditation.
A challenge for the school in terms of working toward SWEP accreditation has been that we have had no baseline data to work from. At the time we had significant water saving measures already in place, allowing us to achieve accreditation. The recommendations from the water audit were not cost effective and savings would not recognised within the timeframe. Through grants we have been able to significantly improve our water saving measures. Our School Environment Management Plan (SEMP) goal for water is to have an aspirational target of4kL of usage per student. With a small student body (30 students), the usage per student was 12.72kL for the year 2008 and for year to date 2009 (at August 18th), with an increased population (145) our water usage per student is 1.82kL.
SWEP is the sister program to Yarra Valley Waters Learn it Live it (Water LiLi) program with the focus of SWEP being on implementing water saving measures, and Water LiLi the education program, which we are a Silver Accredited School. Being a growing school we have had a large influx of students in 12 months and will continue to in the future. A challenge has been to embed water saving behaviours in our students. Our staff has developed a culture where water bottles are encouraged on tables, we supply a chilled water fountain with easy access and students are conscious about the use of water. Our school has ensured that our curriculum documents integrate water topics through the integrated curriculum and in every even year our students spend a term learning about water. Our sustainability action teams ensure that water saving behaviours are encouraged and our curriculum educates students about the precious natural resource. In 2009, our school was recognised by the Victorian ResourceSmart Water Smart Primary School of the year.
Our current School Environment Management Plan (SEMP) is currently being worked through by our sustainability action team with many benchmarks already achieved. Our aim is to keep the use of mains water to below 4kL a year per student. Our use in 2008 was 12.72kL per student and this can be attributed to many leaking pipes which have subsequently been fixed and our tanks for toilets being empty. Our current data for this year is well on track to meet the target as current use is 1.82kL per student.
Major milestones that have been achieved through SEMP is that all practices are present in the following areas Systems Design and Management, Development and Planning, Water Efficiency: Maintenance, Management and Monitoring, Water Efficiency: Sustainable Building Management, Water Efficiency: Grounds and School Yard Management and Reuse and Recycling. In relation to other categories of SEMP we achieved many of the milestones but still working on several practices. The most significant aspects of SEMP relevant to being a Water Smart school is that our water efficiency for grounds and school yard is that all lawn areas are watered using harvested rain water. This links strongly into Reuse and Recycling in that water is used in this way. Further our tanks for toilets ensure toilets are flushed using collected water.
Our schools Green Procurement Policy as passed by school council has two significant factors, maximising water efficiency and maximising value for money. Using the National School Pride grant funding our students, staff and parents at a school assembly decided that we should use a large proportion of that funding to purchase more water tanks and purchase and install the irrigation lines for the oval. We were able to get these two projects completed within budget as we had substantial infrastructure in place during the construction phase of the school.