Ever wonder why our Low Carbon Schools Program has a section on water? Energy is used to pump water, energy is used to treat waste water, energy is used to desalinate water, so that’s quite a bit of carbon used for water.

Kathy waterApart from the carbon, water is scarce resource across the world but particularly in the south west of Australia where rainfall has been decreasing for the last 40 years, shown in the graph.

Schools can waste a lot of water, the bigger the facility the more dripping taps, leaking toilets, showers, irrigation, a leaking pool, a burst pipe in some cupboard and who is responsible?

Well really, everyone is. The cleaners, teachers, gardeners, general staff, students – those with eyes and ears. However the critical thing is that to empower people, those who report leaks must be thanked and then the problem fixed. Water Corporation may send a letter if the usage suddenly changes (in keeping with our theme, thank you Water Corp for letting us know that our school has a leak!)

So that’s the leaks fixed, now to water use.

My top tips for water saving.

1. Golden Rule – The biggest users are the biggest losers  (usually)Water Greensense

Pools are great but they can the responsible for some massive leaks. This screenshot shows a burst pipe, which from Tuesday 26th got bigger and bigger until on Friday it was fixed. The weekend water use is minimal; water is used by the community for spaces hired on the weekend.



2. Water fitting 2Put flow reducers in all taps and showers

This is cheap and simple, all you need in a spanner and then pop in the little gizmo (pictured left)


3. Upgrade drinking troughs and hand basins to spring loaded taps, and then they will never be left on.

4. Switch to bore water for gardens – Scheme water is much more carbon costly than bore water, so gardens should be changed to bore water and then used carefullyWater - star rating

5. Replace single flush toilets – Surely all the single flush toilets have gone from schools? Well is seems not there are a few still around so they need to be replaced with 4 star pans and cisterns.

6. Reduce lawn areas

Lawn is excellent for active play areas and it cools the school compared with fake grass. However grass just to look? No it’s got to go. Local plants are low water use. Plant both trees and shrubs to provide; shade, habitat for birds and other critters, there are also measurable benefits for people spending time with trees. One planting I was involved in at a school now has quendas, in a very built up area.

7. Consider deciduous trees  – these may be appropriate in some areas to allow winter sun for warmth and light. My favourite deciduous tree is the pecan; it is a great food source for Carnaby Black Cockatoos.