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Rainwater Tanks in Schools – Learning Water Conservation from the Corrugated Iron Sheets

Congress: 2008
Author(s): Amit Chanan, Gina Spyrakis, Isabelle Ghetti, Elisa Idris
Amit Chanan1 Gina Spyrakis 2, Isabelle Ghetti 3 and Elisa Idris 4 1. Director Assets and Services, Kogarah Municipal Council. 2. Environmental Advisor, Blue Water Joint Venture 3. Manager Catchments & Waterways, Kogarah Municipal Council 4. Urban Water Cycle Engineer, Kogarah Municipal Council

Keyword(s): rainwater tanks, water conservation, education, sustainable decisio-making
Article:
AbstractThe opening ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games was a window for the rest of the World to look inside the real Australia. And amongst everything that makes Australia the country it is, we proudly displayed to the world hundreds of galvanised iron rainwater tanks. Given the vital role these tanks have played over the years in Australia, it was quite appropriate to celebrate them in such an important way. The rainwater tanks have been an integral part of the Australian landscape. Yet, for the latter half of the last century, large cities such as Sydney turned their back on this national icon in favour of centralised water supply systems. The current drought in Australia has however once again emphasised the importance of rainwater tanks for Sydneysiders. And throughout the metropolis the rainwater tank is staging a comeback. Kogarah Municipal Council became the first local government authority in Sydney to promote the use of rainwater tanks in all the schools within the council area. To facilitate this, Council in partnership with the Sydney Water Corporation has funded the installation of rainwater tanks in all the schools. The project also involved the University of Technology Sydney, which assisted with sophisticated yield and demand modelling to determine the right storage volumes needed for each of the school. A continuous simulation model was used to determine the appropriate tank volumes, based on factors including water usage patterns and available roof surface areas for harvesting. Installation of rainwater tanks in Kogarah schools, is likely to result in saving thousands of litres of drinking water per annum, as drinking water is now being substituted with rainwater for irrigating gardens and/or for toilet flushing. In addition to the installation of rainwater tanks, a complementary water education program was also developed and implemented as part of the project. Education program involved training students to carry out water audits of the school complex, tank decorating initiatives as well as the development of a Water Conservation Action Plan for the school. Involvement in the educational program provided students with applied knowledge and understanding of water conservation, which is central to sustainable decision-making in their life. This paper provides an insight into Rainwater Tanks for Schools Project, highlighting the important educational role the project has played in increasing the awareness of Kogarah’s children with respect to water conservation.
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