Belle Vue Primary School is located in Melbourne’s inner east, nestled along the banks of the Yarra River. We are a small school of around 200 students who have a strong focus on students and our community.
In 2018 we began our journey working on the water module. We recognised a bit of a culture of wasting water (e.g. using the toilet too often for an excuse to leave class, splashing each other at the drink taps, leaving taps dripping etc). We decided to register with SWEP in March and began to track our water usage. In Term 3 the student sustainability leaders decided to complete a water audit in which they found that there were many areas for which we could improve our water use/consumption. The students asked:
-How do we stop water wastage through leaking taps, drinking fountains, running water?
-How can we promote more responsible water use in our school and the wider community?
-How can we reuse water in our school?
We also realised that our tank was not being utilised! Therefore, another question student had was:
-How can we utilise our rainwater tanks?
From these questions, student leaders came up with the following actions and over the last two years we have tackled each one.
-Student leaders designed signs to put up around the school near all taps, toilets and drinking fountains.
-The Junior School Council thought of great water saving tips and the JSC president and treasurer shared these tips with the community through our newsletter.
The students also came up with and implemented two systems at school:
-regular leak checking system
-method to reuse drinking fountain water on gardens
In the meantime, student leaders had also been investigating how we could use the rainwater tank water. They decided on trying to use the caught water for our vegetable garden.
Student leaders then came up with designs on how we could get the rainwater from the tank to our garden, in an economic and environmentally friendly way. The final design (using a gravity feed line instead of an electric pump) was decided on and installed with money raised by the students. Our school garden club is now using this water to water our veggie garden.
We also designed our annual EnviroDay in 2019 to be based around water. Student leaders ran four activities, which all students in the school participated in. Themes included waste in our rivers and oceans and how we can better look after them, responsible production and consumption, as well how we can waste less water both school and at home.
Belle Vue Primary School endeavours to continue our sustainable practises and learning journey in water to date. We place emphasis on Sustainability and Water as a curriculum priority and we plan and implement relevant learning sequences across all year levels.