- New cross-government program to help public schools save groundwater
- Nearly half a billion litres of drinking water already being saved through waterwise upgrades
- Individual schools to reduce drinking water consumption by around 11 per cent a year
- WA public schools use about 4.5 billion litres of scheme water annually
Water Minister Dave Kelly today announced a new cross-government partnership and program designed to help State schools save precious groundwater.
Development of the new Waterwise School Grounds program will be informed by the outcomes of a water efficiency program that has been run in Western Australian public schools over the past two years.
Since October 2020, 65 public schools - including 56 in regional WA - have benefited from waterwise upgrades under the Water Efficient Public Schools Program, delivered by Water Corporation and the Department of Education.
On average, schools that participated in the initial two-year program are expected to use around 11 per cent less water through services such as plumbing retrofits, irrigation improvements, and rainwater harvesting.
The $1.5 million Water Efficient Public Schools Program aims to save around half a billion litres of drinking water over coming years - equivalent to 200 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
WA public schools use about 4.5 billion litres of scheme water annually - some of which goes towards irrigating ovals and sporting grounds.
Findings from the initial program will help inform a new initiative between the Department of Education and Department of Water and Environmental Regulation aimed at saving even more of Perth's precious groundwater resources.
Known as the Waterwise School Grounds Program, it will see water audits and irrigation checks at metropolitan schools that use groundwater bores to irrigate ovals and playing fields.
Inefficient irrigation systems will be upgraded and school groundskeepers will receive waterwise training to help reduce on-campus water wastage.
The Waterwise School Grounds Program is one of several initiatives supporting water efficient schools within Kep Katitjin - Gabi Kaadadjan, the second Waterwise Perth Action Plan for Perth and Peel announced earlier this month.
Other actions under the plan include work by the Department of Education to incorporate waterwise design principles into buildings, landscaping, and grassed sporting spaces of new public primary and secondary schools.
Water Corporation will also aim to take the waterwise message to 50,000 WA students each year by 2030 by expanding its long-running and successful Waterwise Schools Program.
Since its inception in 2007, more than 330,000 students have taken part in the program, learning about the water cycle, how climate impacts our water sources, and the importance of water in Aboriginal culture.
Comments attributed to Water Minister Dave Kelly:
"We all have a role to play in protecting our State's water resources, which is why it's fantastic to see WA public schools taking such a proactive approach to water efficiency.
"When you consider State schools use around 4.5 billion litres of water each year, there is real opportunity to help reduce their usage and drive meaningful long-term savings.
"We're already seeing the benefits of the Water Efficient Public Schools Program and, over time, the work completed at 65 campuses will help save nearly half a billion litres of water.
"Lessons learnt will now be applied to the Waterwise School Grounds Program, which is another way the McGowan Government is acting to protect Perth's vital groundwater resources from the impacts of climate change."
Comments attributed to Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery:
"It's encouraging to see government agencies joining together to drive better waterwise outcomes for our schools and communities.
"In WA, perhaps more than anywhere else in the world, we understand and heed the waterwise message.
"A big part of that is thanks to the waterwise education delivered by Water Corporation to tens of thousands of WA students each year.
"I look forward to seeing programs within the Waterwise Perth Action Plan come to life, and to our public schools doing their part to help ensure a secure sustainable water supply long into the future."
Water Minister's office - 6552 6100
Education and Training Minister's office - 6552 5700