Strathaird PS Water Learning story 2021

Where we started

In 2008 we were using over 8KL of water per student. We had lots of leaky drink taps,toilets and urinals, toilets with only one flush option and little awareness of the water we use, where it comes from and how others have little water. We hand watered our vegetable garden using tap water, especially over the hot summer months.

What we did

We have worked to reduce our water use by

  • Including water in our curriculum to educate students on how precious water is
  • Replacing old drink taps and including water bottle refill stations
  • Encouraging students to bring drink bottles
  • Auditing our water use
  • Reporting our findings at assembly and in the newsletter
  • Making posters about saving water at home and school
  • Running water incursions
  • Installing rainwater tanks to water the vegetable gardens
  • Monitoring the health of the pond and teaching students why it is important to have healthy water
  • Encouraging students to report leaks
  • Establishing a green team with Water Warriors in each class to support their class to be sustainable with water
  • Making a strong link between litter and the ocean health by starting the Marine Ambassadors ‘I see, I care’ program
  • Installed drought proof gardens with indigenous plantings that require only rainwater
  • Replacing old toilets and urinals that leak and upgrading to half flush
  • Awareness of water use e.g. in the art room they use tubs of water so the tap doesn’t keep running
  • Using SWEP to monitor water use daily and respond to leaks immediately

Challenges

Some of the challenges we have faced in reducing our water use are:

  • Old drinking taps that leak
  • Some old toilets that leak
  • Cleaners leaving toilets ‘running’
  • Leaks can be hard to find even if we know we are losing water
  • Installation of water pump for play in the yard which is great for students play but wastes a lot of fresh water and cannot use tank water in case students drink it
  • People putting the dishwasher on for half a load
  • Students wasting water through playing at the drink taps or with their drink bottles
  • Putting a watering system on a timer in the vege garden as it is expensive
  • New students and Preps are often unaware of how we save water.

What we have achieved

The graph shows the reduction of our water use over time from 8KL per student to 1KL per student. Hopefully with continued work and upgrading of drinking taps and toilets in the next 12 months we will be able to stay at a low level even with the water pump being used a lot in the summer by children. This is such a positive play space the children really enjoy and play so cooperatively together in so it is worth the water use.

We have also helped our community grow in awareness of their water use. While on remote learning the children made posters for their families to remind them of ways to save water. It was great to see students with signs in their bathrooms saying 3 minute showers, only run a full load of washing etc. They are educating their parents on how scarce water is and how to save it. Our migrant students are able to educate us on how hard it is for them to get water and how hard they work for water so they appreciate water and how in equal access to water is. They also know where there water comes from and that it is not a guaranteed supply.

What we have learned

We have learned that saving water is not too difficult if you put some key steps in place. We have found leaks can be hard to find and expensive to fix but save in money when they are not leaking. The SWEP program has saved our school a lot of money by alerting us to leaks very quickly. We continue to put indigenous and drought tolerant plants in our gardens to avoid having to water. We will apply for a grant in the future to put the watering system in the vegetable garden so the tank can water the garden from a timer. Having a hands on activity to teach children visually how much fresh water is available on the earth as ‘potable’ water is very effective and students are very fascinated by this concept and hence motivated to save water.

By Strathaird Primary School|2021-12-14T15:43:06+10:00December 14th, 2021|0 Comments
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