School children set the bar high in water-wise approach

West Leeming Primary School's permaculture garden

West Leeming Primary's permaculture garden

Jennifer: I like to think of myself as a water-wise person. Though I’m not much of a gardener, I respect my scheduled watering days, and even have a timer in my bathroom to keep showers short. But Western Australian school children are setting the bar even higher in water-wise behaviour.

The recent 2008 Water Awards of Western Australia acknowledged WA schools for their innovative water-wise thinking. One such school is West Leeming Primary in Perth, which has installed a 26 500L rain water tank. In fact, 200 Australian schools, one for each day of the school year, were recipients of a tank as part of the BlueScope Steel Tank-A-Day Challenge. Every child in the school was involved in qualifying for the tank by completing an online water-saving quiz.

Since installing the water tank, West Leeming Primary has reduced its annual water usage by 51 percent. An additional 1500L tank supplies water for the sustainable permaculture garden and orchard, cared for by the children, growing everything from A(apple) to Z(zucchini). The water-wise approach is high-profile in the classroom, even being the focus of the performing arts production. Feed-back from a parent sustainability survey confirmed that the children are indeed demonstrating water-wise behaviour.

While this may be a drought-stricken continent, and we all must learn to better manage our precious resources, it’s heartening to see Western Australian children so involved in saving water. It bodes well for Australia’s water future.

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