Articles, Blog

Schools Water Efficiency Program

November 30, 2019

The Schools Water Effiency Program, or SWEP, is a jointly funded initiative by the Department
of Sustainability and Environment and the Departmend of Education and Early Childhood
Development. SWEP has already improved the internal water use of more than 1700 schools
across Victoria by providing low-cost plumbing assistance. SWEP is now supplying and installing
data loggers in schools to reduce leakage and continue the education and demonstration
of water efficiency in practice. LEONIE BROWN (Assistant Princpal – Bentleigh
West Primary School): Data logging has been fantastic, not just
in helping our water reduction within the school, but for the students in their maths
programs. Lots of chance and data is taught through it, also measurement in fact when
they’re reading it and they can actually graph the results. The data logger will let us know
exactly how much water is being used at any time of day, 365 days a year. It’s been great
when we had a major leak. A spike was detected, we were able then to track it down and close
it off before it used too much mains water. ANDREW VANCE (Sustainability Coordinator – Melbourne
Girls College): We’ve been trying to coordinate our data collection
in terms of water use for several years and we’ve had mixed success. It just really appeals
to me that it’s all automated and we can’t hide anything, it will really hold us to account.
The plumbers came out this morning and hooked it all up for us, it took about ten minutes.
They didn’t have to turn off the water. At this stage it obviously fits into our year
seven water unit that we’ll be doing. But I can definitely see it working with my envrironment
team students who often do presentations to other schools and to other groups about environmental
issues and this will be something fantastic, to have their own personal data to use for
that. CHRIS CHIVERS (SWEP Installer – Select Solutions):
Yeah, the data logger is a fantastic unit. It tracks and monitors your water usage. In
the event of a leak it’s going to show up as a leak before it will even show up in the
ground. It saves you money. MICHAEL VAN DER LINDEN (Property Manager – McClelland
College) I log on to the data program every morning
and according to the graph, it shows me if I’ve got any water leaks around the school.
If the graph spikes in comparison to previous days I know I’ve got leaks. I go for a bit
of a walk around the school, and try to find where the leaks are, repair them, and get
the water use back down. STEVEN CAPP (Assistant Princapal – McClelland
College): Well the biggest thing that we learnt was
how much water we were wasting, up to 7 million litres a year we were wasting, and where we
were wasting that water. We found that a lot of our water wastage was going through pipes
below the school and things like that were just leaking and we could channel what we
were doing and fix those things. We’re in the first steps of involving it in our curriculum,
but it’s saved us $15,000 a year so that in itself is already worthwhile, and then the
other things that the students, the skills that they can get through using the loggers
and targetting your repairs and things like that just save you money. KERRY ARCHER (Environment Coordinator – McClelland
College): For a few years we’ve had a monitoring system
where we put our bills in quarterly, but that wasn’t telling us very much, it was just telling
us how much water we’d used each quarter, but it wasn’t really telling us if we’d had
leaks overnight or during the school holidays. With data logging that’s really the only way
you can do that because it measures the water use every 24 hours. I’d definitely recommend
data logging, because it’s been the way that we’ve saved the most water. With our tanks
to toilets, and all the other things we were doing, the haven’t saved anywhere near as
much as fixing all of our leaks that we didn’t necessarily know that we have, and it’s the
easiest way to be able to show the kids in the classroom how you can save water but also
teaching them things about measurement and all those sorts of maths concepts in a really
authentic way so I definitely recommend all schools get a data logger. VOICEOVER:
The extension of SWEP into providing data loggers provides a great opportunity for schools
to save water and money. Even for schools that think they are efficient, if you don’t
monitor it, you can’t measure it. LEONIE BROWN:
I’d highly recommend that all schools get one. ENDS

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