The Anglian Water region is classed as ‘water stressed’ by the Environment Agency because it receives the lowest average rainfall in the UK.
Pressures of global warming, climate change and changing weather patterns are also affecting the region and with more and more houses being built and a growing population, dealing with these changes are vitally important.
Careful water management, together with an education programme, has shown that water use in schools can be reduced to four cubic metres per student per year.* Schools spend a total of around £70 million a year on water; a large secondary school can spend as much as £20,000 per year on water, so this could save a school of 600 students around £5,000 annually.
Becoming a water efficient school can make a long-term difference to the amount of water people use, so the challenge was on to create a communication pack that children could use to carry out a water audit in their school.
(*Water Watch 2007)
We helped Anglian Water create an online water audit kit that could be downloaded from their website.
The interactive publication for teachers and students taught them how to read their meter and work out their average water use.
They learned how to keep a spreadsheet, or graph, showing their water use which they had to keep up to date every half term or term.
We provided hints and tips on how to survey students and staff to see if they were changing their behaviours.
Pupils were encouraged to email their case studies to the Anglian Water website and to send in their meter readings and savings to gain rewards for their school.
And they also found out how to plan regular maintenance to ensure water audits occur regularly, checking for leaks, silent leaks and drips.
Students who got involved in the project were able to demonstrate a reduction in their water use and they developed a variety of different strategies to become water efficient schools.
Some of the teachers and students even shared their findings with other audiences and the local community.
Marcia Davies, Community Education Team Manager, said: “The online audit is a great success because it’s easy to access from our website, simple to use and engaging, for both teachers and students alike.
“Saving water and being sustainable is key to our future. We need a global response and everyone is part of the solution, particularly young people.”