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Utilities investing in education programs for future water leaders

With research showing the public struggles to understand the true value of water, utilities are instilling water knowledge in future generations.

An education program run by SA Water is encouraging school students to tackle big issues like desalination and water security head on.

Working with schools across South Australia, the utility teaches young people about the importance of water and the processes that ensure they have safe, clean water and a dependable sewerage network.

Most recently, a group of 150 students from Xavier College in Gawler presented a showcase to SA Water as part of their humanities studies.

The year seven classes used dioramas, experiments, posters and websites to explore some of the biggest topics in the water sector, and present their ideas about water management.

SA Water Manager of Community and Aboriginal Engagement Rachael Siddall said the state’s future leaders had some great ideas for water-saving inventions and alternative water supply solutions.

“Their ingenuity was fascinating; it was clear they harnessed their inquisitive minds and expanded their understanding of the wonderful world of water,” Siddall said.

“One of the greatest things about the showcase is that it was student-driven. They each discovered a niche within sustainability, science and water management, exploring a host of topics that even involved the development of a website designed to enhance knowledge about water availability.”

Along with their projects, the students took the expression ‘practice what you preach’ to heart, making changes to their own behaviour. This included carrying drink bottles to avoid buying bottled water, using a timer while taking a shower and completely filling the dishwasher before putting it on. 

“Their research helped the students understand water’s role in supporting a better life for our communities and empowered them to think more about water in their everyday life,” Siddall said.

Creating water heroes

Meanwhile in Victoria, Coliban Water has delivered its 2019 ‘water heroes’ education program to more than 1800 children in 44 kindergartens across its region.

Coliban Water Executive General Manager Strategy and Governance Roslyn Wai said the water business hoped the age-appropriate messages about water conservation and the water cycle would stay with the children.

“It’s really exciting to see our future generation take on board messages about water efficiency and the importance of water, which we hope will develop into life-long attitudes as they grow,” Wai said.

“It might be something as simple as remembering to turn off the tap when you brush your teeth, taking a four-minute shower or reusing unneeded water from the kitchen on the garden.”

Each year, the Australian Water Association’s National Water Week encourages the community to consider the value of water. To learn more and to get involved, click here