By Natalie Aarons, Environment Committee
In 2010 Mount Waverley Primary School continued the journey towards becoming an accredited Sustainable School through AuSSi (Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative). Water saving is embedded in the curriculum of Mount Waverley Primary School, with all year levels learning about what they can do at school and in the wider community to improve the health of Victoria’s waterways.
In order to our goal of reducing water usage at our school, MWPS has developed a coordinated whole-school approach to environmental sustainability. We have:
• published water saving tips in the school newsletter
• monitored water usage using the AussiVic SETS data program. Investigating water though the school’s water bills is one of the first steps in water auditing and reducing consumption in the school. It allows students to start the investigation and reporting process for water as a resource used in the school.
• encouraged students to bring their own water bottle to school to avoid using drinking fountains that can use more water than a person drinks
• involved students in collecting water from the drinking fountains using containers. The grey water is used for watering garden beds adjacent to the drinking taps.
• planted native and drought tolerant plants in various garden beds around the school. As part of this process, dead plants and all weed species have been removed. Mulching has also been used to reduce water evaporation and retain moisture in the garden beds.
• connected the senior building to rainwater tanks that collect roof water and divert it to the student toilets
• installed a large rainwater tank that is used to water school vegetable garden and garden beds
• hand watered garden beds and used brooms to clear paths and playgrounds of leaves
• installed water efficient kitchen appliances in the staff room and ensured that the staffroom dishwasher is not run on less than a ¾ full load in order to minimise water wastage
• installed vandal proof taps on all external taps
• involved students in designing signs to go near taps and drinking fountains that tell everyone at school how to save water and why
• asked students to make ‘water promises’ that were then written on fabric patches. These were sewn together into a ‘water quilt’ and this quilt won the second prize at the Primary School craft section at the Royal Melbourne Show. It is now displayed in the school foyer to remind the school community how to save water.
• taken students on excursions to Yarra Valley Water, the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Werribee Water Treatment Plant to increase their understanding of where water goes and how it is used.
• mulched and composted garden waste to save water.
• planted indigenous and drought resistant plants in our garden.
At MWPS, staff, students and parents are working together to save water both in the school and in the wider community.