“Water Explorer has really infiltrated our school,” commented Charne Manthe, one of the Water Explorers team members of Howick High ‘and it has been taken to heart by so many of our students, we know this as there has been a huge increase in our collaborative efforts such as recycling, which helps to save thousands of litres of hidden water. Students have been really receptive and have supported our grey water campaigns enabling to keep our gardens alive during the dry months”.
On the 17 August, five of South Africa’s top Water Explorer teams gathered at Umgeni Valley in Howick to present their amazing water saving efforts to an expert panel. The incredible teams included Siphakamile Combined Primary, Howick High, Laddsworth Primary school, Danville Park Girls High and Northdene Prep, each with their own unique story of how they had made a difference to their water usage over the past year.
“Water Explorer has been so important for us as it has given us a great way to remind people about how important water is in this time of severe drought and how much we are wasting” Gugu Nzimande, teacher of winning team Siphakamile Combined commented . “For an example we collected over thousands of litres of grey water from our school’s families which took the message back home reminding everyone of how much water they use daily just for cleaning. We then used this water on our gardens.”
The WESSA Water Explorer Programme is an online fun, inspiring and educational programme that empowers students across the world to lead joint action on water issues for their schools and communities. www.waterexplorer.org. Schools earn points as they complete a variety of water challenges and through their efforts to manage their water more wisely will have the opportunity to win many appropriate prizes to assist them in achieving their water goals. Each country selects their top five schools of which one is selected as the National Winner
Siphakamile Combined Primary from Port Shepstone, won the hearts of the judging panel with their incredibly diverse and innovative ways to save water despite them being not a resourced school.
Local schools Howick High and Laddsworth Primary who made it into the top 5 for South Africa did their fair share of impressing the judges too. Howick High is saving over 250 000litres annually by simply putting 1litre bottles in the back of all their toilet cisterns. They also collected a few thousand litres of grey water which has helped to keep their school gardens and cricket pitch alive during these dry months. Through their paper recycling efforts they are saving over 330 000litres of water every year. At the Howick High 50th year celebration, more than 500 visitors were encouraged to make personal pledges around their water saving efforts.
The day culminated in awarding Siphakamile Combined Primary the first position with the Water Explorer Tap trophy and R10 000 toward their Eco-projects. The other teams were all awarded R5000 each. The event was also celebrated with a delicious low water footprint lunch made purely from pulses and fresh garden greens. And most appropriately tap water was the drink of choice.
Matric student, Jeneya Reddy from the Danville Girls high, said that becoming a Water Explorer has resulted in her becoming a vegetarian since 2016. “Knowing the water impact of meat on the environment and water supply is shocking. Being part of Water Explorer has also influenced my future studies, I am planning to study environmental science next year!” she said.
“The programme has been life changing for many of us at Laddsworth,” commented teacher Jacki Horne, “it has been so very motivating for everyone concerned from our learners, parents and staff. It is couldn’t be a more important programme to be part of in South Africa, in light of the water crisis we are in.” The Water Explorer programme will continue for another year any school can register for free at www.waterexplorer.org