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School-based program hits milestone

In an impressive milestone, the Northern Territory’s Power and Water Corporation’s innovative school-based water conservation program has been completed by more than 3000 students from Darwin and Katherine schools.

The Living Water Smart program is now in its fifth year, and aims to teach students about local water sources, how the water they use everyday is treated and why it is important to save water.

With Territorians using approximately twice as much water as the national average, the Living Water Smart program works with schools, households, businesses, councils and government to offer easy and affordable ways to reduce water use.

Living Water Smart Program Manager Jethro Laidlaw said the program is linked to the Australian curriculum and provides considerable STEM outcomes for students, with students involved in educational projects ranging from a day to a whole school term.

“What makes this program unique is that it’s inquiry-based learning. Students are set with a real-life problem and then empowered to come up with their own solutions,” Laidlaw said.

“It also has a strong behaviour change component ensuring that water conservation lessons are understood, practiced and adopted for life by the students.”

Laidlaw said Power and Water has partnered with Charles Darwin University, the Bureau of Meteorology and the Northern Territory Government to produce engaging water education programs for students for many years now.

“This year was a bit more challenging due to COVID-19, so we became more creative and are trialling online classroom delivery which has been extremely well received,” Laidlaw said.

The Living Water Smart school program was recently expanded to remote communities through the That’s My Water! Bush Schools program – a curriculum unit aimed specifically at Territory students living in remote areas.

“We are very keen to partner with remote schools and communities to help ensure the sustainability of water supply,” Laidlaw said.