As the head of a school, you are often tasked with a myriad of administrative duties, such as drawing up class lists and setting examination dates. Another duty that you have is ensuring that your school is conserving as much water as possible, especially in times of drought.
Saving water is not just done at home, but also at the office, in shopping centres and at schools. If you are wondering how you can do your part, read on for tips on how a school can save water.
Work with your local authority
You could ask your local government if there is a desalination plant in progress in your area, using a sea water cycle to create drinkable water for communities. The seawater desalination awarded to Proxa means that it will soon be a possibility for schools and communities to have drinkable water without impacting our current fresh-water resources.
You will need to ask them where the source of your school’s water is, and whether the use of a water desalination plant as your water source is possible. Ask them for realistic goals for your school to set with water conservation, and remember to check the water meters on a regular basis. Obtain leaflets, posters and pamphlets to hand out at school assemblies to make the children aware of what regulations the local authorities are putting in place.
In the restrooms
The restrooms are an important area of your school where you will need to implement water saving tactics. You could invest in taps with sensors that shut off immediately, so as to avoid children leaving the taps running after they have finished washing their hands.
You should also have signage up in the restrooms telling students not to waste water by leaving taps running, and provide hand sanitiser as an alternate hand washing method. Installing toilets that are water-efficient also mean that the amount of water used by students in the restrooms is reduced. Offer the students the use of ‘toilet foam’ to mask the aroma of not flushing when it is not needed, making it easier to only flush when necessary.
Cleaning is one of those duties that often uses a lot of water, especially when mopping floors, cleaning paint brushes for art classes and wiping down desks. To conserve water in the cleaning process, you could ask children to fill a bowl or bucket with water while painting to rinse off their brushes, rather than using a running tap to do so.
Installing a rain catchment tank will allow you to use this water for cleaning school grounds, saving the drinking water just for that, drinking. You could also ensure that all cleaners use buckets and mops for cleaning the floors, rather than spraying them with hoses in order to get them clean. Wipe walls with water that has been used to clean desks so you do not have to refill a bucket each time.
Look for leaks
Water can easily be wasted by a leaking bathroom faucet or toilet. It is important to have your handyman or even a plumber check the grounds for leaks that could possibly be wasting water. Getting these leaks fixed should be a high priority on your water conservation list.
Reading the water meter regularly will also help you to see if there are any possible leaks that are causing a high usage reading, and this will enable you to show a plumber where you think the leak is located. Finding all the leaks on your school property will help to ensure that you are not wasting water passively, without knowing. If you have a small school ground, then you could ask parents with plumbing know-how to help you fix the leaks, turning it into an educational day for the students to learn what to do if they suspect a tap or toilet is leaking.
Your school gardens and fields are an important part of your institution, providing learners with a safe place to play and perform their sports. You should look into adopting water-efficient landscaping practices, such as using rainwater to water the gardens or choosing plants native to your area rather than exotic flowers or trees.
You could ask your gardeners to surround plants and flowers with mulch in order to retain moisture so they do not have to be watered as often, and look into installing rubber under play equipment to reduce the need for watering and caring for grass. This will also offer a safer surface in case of any falls. For fields, try not to water them in the off-season of the sport, rather begin watering them a week or two before the season begins to ensure they are usable when the time comes.
As a school, it is important that you try to conserve as much water as possible while also teaching your students how to save water at home. This will increase the water-saving cycle of your town and will allow them to see that saving water is vital to the survival of your community. Start by working with your local authority, then move on to finding all the leaks on your grounds and fixing them. Soon enough, your school will be a shining example for others to follow on the journey towards true water conservation.