WCED offers schools a subsidy to support water sustainability
30 July 2020
The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) is engaging with public schools to achieve a water secure future and behaviour change that will lead to significantly lower water use and costs.
The department has already undertaken a successful pilot project by installing smart water meters at 350 schools. This resulted in millions of litres of water being saved and schools considerably reducing their municipal bills.
To ensure that more schools benefit from this water saving initiative, the WCED will assist schools by providing subsidies to cover the cost to install smart water meters and support online reporting services that will provide information on water consumption patterns at the schools. The water monitoring devices should generate notifications when problems that would normally go undetected occur – like burst pipes or leaks.
Hector Peterson High School in Wallacedene, Kraaifontein, was one of the first schools in the province to make use of the system and it helped the school to cut water consumption from 47 000 litres a day to 9 000 litres - a daily saving of 38 000 litres.
Mike Mavovana, Principal of Hector Peterson High School, was shocked when he was informed that the school recorded excessive water use in April when schools were closed due to the national lockdown. An investigation revealed a leakage which is being repaired. “I like the daily and weekly reporting system. This enabled the school management to give feedback to all stakeholders about water usage.”
Woodville Primary School in Mitchell’s Plain managed to reduce their water use after the service provider made them aware of a leak. The prompt action saved the school thousands of rands. Principal William Page said Woodville Primary was grateful to be included in the water saving initiative. “The water saving brought about by the system has not only benefited the school financially but more importantly improved our school’s water management.”
Western Cape Education Minister, Debbie Schäfer, said maintaining a stable water supply has never been more important. “We have seen the challenges that a lack of water has created across the country at a time when washing hands frequently and cleaning surfaces regularly are essential to stop the spread of the coronavirus.”
Schäfer said schools can play their part in ensuring a sustainable and secure water future for the Western Cape by installing smart water meters. “These devices will help schools manage their water usage better and assist in resolving problems with water infrastructure speedily.”
The WCED subsidy will cover the installation costs for the water monitoring devices per school and the monthly service fees, for an agreed period. Schools will be required to enter directly into a service contract with a water metering supplier that is able to meet certain technical conditions.
“Saving water is everyone’s responsibility – be it at school, home or work. It was not too long ago that our province suffered one of the worst droughts in decades. Just as we are working together to tackle Covid-19, we must together maintain our commitment to conserving our most precious resource: water,” Schäfer said.