St. Aidan’s in Wexford set a target to reduce water consumption in the school by 20% by:
Turning on/off cisterns to urinals.
‘Bottles in cisterns’ campaign.
Making and distributing ‘Turn off the tap signs’ to all classrooms.
Checking taps and pipes for leaks.
The school does not have a water meter so the calculations on water use and savings are approximate. They based their calculations on a student population of 870, a staff of 60, 58 toilets (9 litre flush), and 2 urinals (9 litre flush).
Before implementing their programme, the urinals were on constant flush (including weekends/school holidays) i.e. they flushed automatically every half hour. This means that up to 432 litres of water were used every day.
The caretaker now turns off the water to the urinal cisterns at 4 p.m. daily and turns it on again at 8 a.m. so that the cisterns only flush for 8 hours, thereby using 144 litres per day resulting in a saving of 288 litres per day. Through weekends and school holidays the school now saves thousands of litres of water from the urinals alone.
The students at St. Aidan’s based their calculations for the toilet flush on the premise that between staff and students, there are about 930 people using toilets. If it is assumed that every one flushes the toilet once a day, thereby using 8,370 litres of water per day. They weighed the fact that boys mostly use urinals against infants and younger children flushing the toilet up to 3 or 4 times a day.
By placing 1 litre water bottles in the toilet cisterns, the school has saved over 10% of the water it was using, reducing the amount of water used to 7,440 litres per day, i.e. a saving of 1,130 litres daily.
St. Aidan’s held an open day for the whole school & wider community where all curricular work carried out throughout the school during Water Watch Week was displayed in the hall for the day.
Displays comprised samples of work/projects from every class in the school - Junior Infants to 6th class and explored a wide range of water topics in the following curricular areas: art & craft, poetry, creative writing, science, history, geography, social & environmental studies, local heritage, I.T. Some projects undertaken were:
A 'take home' flyer about water facts & tips to save water in the home was compiled and created by 3rd classes and distributed to all visitors & classes on the day.
Water 'books' on uses of water from some infant classes
Study of water & wild life on the River Slaney
Creating Tourism brochures for the River Slaney
Water paintings/Under the sea
Study of Water Energy/Hydro electric power 4th class
Water experiments/filtration/objects that float & sink in fresh water v. saline water
DVD of the school choir singing the Water song (St.Aidan's Green Code) played continuously on T.V.
Two PowerPoint presentations were shown via a data projector. The first presentation was given by a teacher (Green committee member) of his visit to Enniscorthy Water Treatment Plant with the aid of pictures. The second presentation, entitled 'Reducing the Flush', was given by two Green Committee members illustrating the 'bottles in the cisterns' campaign.
Parents and others from the community visited throughout the day as did all the classes in the school. Two local newspaper articles recorded the events of the day.