Outlined below are a number of ideas for conserving water.
It has been shown that careful water management, coupled with an effective education programme, can reduce water use from 12 cubic metres (12 tonnes!) per student per year to 4 cubic metres a year. The following points list some of the many ways in which you can make sure your school is using water carefully and efficiently.
No/Low Cost Options
Behaviour: The first step when tackling any theme is to raise awareness and try to improve behaviour, both in the school and in the home. Making people think how they can reduce their own water consumption can be very effective. Some good examples on simple ways to save water are listed below. Further examples can be found on the http://www.taptips.ie/ website.
Leaks and Drips: Any leakage occurring in pipes on the school’s property will waste water. Leaking taps can usually be repaired simply by replacing worn washers. The prompt reporting of drips, leaks, jammed or faulty taps, and other problems by students should be developed as part of the Green-Schools ethos and seen as a whole-school responsibility.
Washroom Taps: If the flow rate of taps is too strong, can it be adjusted to ‘just adequate.' Self-closing or percussion taps that close automatically after a preset period could be used instead of conventional screw taps to effectively reduce water consumption. Taps with spray heads can reduce water consumption by up to 50%, but like spray taps require regular maintenance.
Toilets: Ensure that urinal cisterns flush at the minimum frequency required and consider installing control devices. It is important that any reductions in volume are not carried out at the expense of effective flushing.
Hot Water Supplies: Hot water taps and showers can be a big source of water and energy loss. Keep runs of pipework short and lag pipes properly. This helps insure hot water comes through after a short period of time.
Outside the School: Water butts can be used to collect rainwater, which is better for plants. Although not necessarily contributing huge amounts to overall savings in the school, the application of water saving ideas to school gardens can help develop good life-long habits and raise awareness of the value and role of water for life. It is important however to always be concerned with safety when dealing with water butts.
There are three main areas that can be addressed in schools:
Cleaning Practices: The use of environmentally friendly detergents and washing-up liquids are becoming more widespread and is a practice that can be relatively easy to introduce to the school.
Toilets: urinals and toilets are convenient and tempting places to flush things down. Blocked or otherwise dysfunctional toilets are one of the worst advertisements for your school, yet they often receive the least attention.
Laboratories: advice on disposal of chemicals and other potentially harmful materials is available from your Local Authority. The basic rule is that everything that goes down the sink should be treated (e.g. neutralised) to nonharmful levels before disposal.
Conserving Water at Home:
turn off the taps when washing your teeth - you can save 6 litres of water.
take a shower not a bath - don't use power showers as a 10 minute shower uses as much water as 3 baths!
fill the kettle for the right amount - you can save energy as well!
use waste water from dish washing to water your plants
never use a hose pipe in your garden
always fix leaking taps
use your dish washer and washing machine only when they are full thus saving energy as well!