Water Explorers make every drop count

Water Explorers show their passion for saving water.

Julia Colvin
We celebrated World Water day on March 22.  With level six water restrictions imposed in the Western Cape, people are learning to use every drop with a quota of 50 litres per person for all their daily activities.

ALSO READ: Water Explorers show their love for water

As Day Zero looms and our Mother City lies at the epicentre of this crisis, the truth is that over years of exploitation, the entire country like many are running out of water.

For us on the wetter Eastern side of South Africa the recent good rains have helped us to recover from three years of prolonged drought.  Only now are the rivers, dams and ground water slowly being replenished.

That said, one season of good rain can’t play catch up for three years of very little, hence cities like Johannesburg and Durban are still subject to level one water restrictions.

Whilst complacency and a frank disregard for water got us into this mess, a focused effort to change behaviour patterns to value and appreciate water is the only approach to survive an uncertain future. Education is key to the solution and there is no better time to start than today.

READ THIS: A win, win for ardent Water Explorers

The International Water Explorer Programme, which has been in operation in SA for three years is not a luxury add-on education programme but rather an emergency intervention strategy.

Phumelelani Primary School has been a Water Explorer School for three years and hosted a workshop together with the Water Explorer Team for all schools from the surrounding uThukela catchment region.

Educators were introduced to this fun online water saving program and were shown practical ways in which children engage and act on vital water issues.

Educators calculated their own personal water audits and water wasting habits to clearly illustrate how small water saving measures can make big changes in our water budget, especially for schools with large numbers.

While water saving and pollution prevention is the main aim of this program, competition between schools helps to motivate action. Once challenges are completed, teams are awarded points that count towards prizes, a great incentive for joining the program.

READ MORE: Bambanani Primary takes environmental action

Sebenhle Mbele, a grade seen educator from Phumelelani Primary School shares some of ways in which Water Explorer has helped her school to tackle the water wastage issues.

“In the beginning of the year a water audit was done of the whole school, we discovered a leaky tap on our main jojo tank and the children used maths to calculate the water lost in a minute, over an hour and over a 24-hour day.

“To our great shame, we realised that if we did not do something quick, we would stand to lose 10 000 litres, our whole jojo tank capacity, in just seven days. At this school we rely heavily on our jojo tank reserves to get us through the dry winter, so prompt action was taken” regales Sebenhle.

Another educator, Sibongile Ngobe from Bambanani School has been involved for three years and has not looked back.

“We are learning to work smarter, not harder,” she exclaims “doing Water Explorer challenges like permaculture gardening, alien invasive removal and river water monitoring we have been able to use our findings for other project, science expo’s and competitions. We have also benefited from one to one support visits and R4 500 Water Festival donation, which helped to sponsor our shade cloth nursery. It’s a win-win, for us and our planet.”

Water Explorer is an HSBC sponsored online water conservation program spanning 11 countries.  In South Africa it is implemented by the African Conservation Trust.

With over 350 South Africa teams participating this year, the program, now in its fourth year, has grown from strength to strength with bucket loads of water saving efforts equating to a massive five million cubic metres of water saved.

To join this exciting initiative, Schools, eco-clubs, scout/cub groups can register for free at www.waterexplorer.org or phone 065 961 9982.

  AUTHOR
Estcourt and Midlands News

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