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Local schools hit major milestone in water saving

Local schools have helped save more than 2 billion litres of water across Yarra Valley Water’s service area, and more than $8.5 million since 2012. These savings come from monitoring their water use and acting on leaks and issues as soon as they occur.

Yarra Valley Water is encouraging more schools to join the Schools Water Efficiency Program (SWEP), which enables schools to continuously track their water usage using data logger technology.

Schools across the state have saved more than 10 billion litres of water in total – and $32.8 million through their involvement in the program.

Mitcham Primary School Principal Erin Norman said the school had benefitted from joining the SWEP program in 2017.

“Conservation is the responsibility of our whole school community, and our students embrace this, their sharp eyes have helped us locate several leaky taps and cisterns, initially identified by SWEP reports, but often hard to pinpoint,” she said.

The school has saved over 1.5 million litres of water and $6,000 so far.

Image shows Minister for Water Harriet Shing speaking to students from Mitcham Primary School. The Minister is standing infront of a large screen with figures about saving water on it. The school children are wearing a green uniform.

“In addition to promoting sustainability, and raising water conservation awareness in our school, SWEP has also saved us a lot of money on our water bills,” Ms Norman said. “SWEP has taught our students to lead by example with the need to save water.”

Since its launch in 2012, SWEP has successfully registered over 1,376 schools in Victoria, which is more than half of all schools. 

Yarra Valley Water General Manager of People, Performance, and Culture Amy Singe said saving water is an important lesson to learn. 

“We’re very proud to part of the School Water Efficiency Program, helping Victorian schools make a difference,” she said. “But it’s not just at school where we can make a difference.

“There are simple things you can do to help save water when you’re at home, like turning off the tap while you are brushing your teeth or taking a shorter shower.”

The SWEP program not only teaches kids about sustainability, it also empowers them to actively conserve water in their daily lives. By instilling these values early on, the program aims to cultivate lifelong habits of water efficiency. Ms Singe added, "We know by teaching kids about water conservation now, they can build good habits that will last a lifetime.”

The SWEP program also includes curriculum resources to combine maths, science, and environmental studies for students through real-world examples.

The initiative aligns with the Victorian Government’s Target 150 campaign, which encourages Melburnians to reduce their average daily individual water usage from 159 to 150 litres a day.

Schools interested in joining the Schools Water Efficiency Program can register online at www.myswep.com.au or email [email protected].