Mentone Primary School Sustainability students have been working towards renewing our Resource Smart Water Module over the past year.
Some of the tasks which have been completed were: Identifying that the beach at the end of the street was a part of Port Phillip Bay, studying the creatures that inhabited the bay, researching the tributaries which flow into the Bay and discovering all the pollutants that find their way into the bay via the tributaries and from other sources. Other tasks have included looking at water consumption, suggesting ways we could save water, graphing of Mentone Primary School water consumption and an audit of water use throughout the school. We are designing posters which can be displayed around the school to encourage students to minimise water waste. A collation of these ideas will be sent home in the newsletter for families to try and adopt at home.
Our KTK team, discovering the effects on the pollution on the marine environment, decided to use the harmful effects of plastic as the focus for their presentation: Our Bay-Port Phillip Bay. The introduction was a powerful adaptation of a story written by Sharron at the Port Phillip Eco centre. By tipping various models of pollutants into a bowl of clean water the effects of pollutants could be seen clearly. In one of the smaller groups our team educated students on some of the terrible injuries and harm marine animals suffered as a result of this pollution. In the other the team presented students with a show bag full of individually wrapped items which could be taken to the beach for a picnic. The students were then challenged to come up with some more viable and less wasteful picnic options- NUDE Food. At the conclusion each participant was presented with a re-useable cloth bag (made by the students in Sewing Club) which could be used for taking future picnics to the beach.
As a result of our work, we noted at the February School Council meeting that we had met the target of water usage for 2019 by keeping consumption below 4KL/student per year, in fact our consumption in 2018 was 1.36 KL. We have set a new target for 2020 to reduce water consumption to below 1.34 KL/student/year, however as we have planted many new plants this year and have watered them regularly to get them established this may not be the case.
At School Council, we ratified the new Water Policy which includes encouraging staff and students to adopt such measures as:
- Switching off all taps properly when finished using them
- Repairing or re-installing a watering system on a timer.
- Regular mulching to retain water in soil
- Use of compost to improve soil moisture
- Re-using excess water from taps collected in drip containers
Our students also completed a detailed water audit with CERES. The findings were fascinating and used to create our new student action plan which we look forward to sharing with the school community!
We are hoping the students will assist their teachers and younger students in complying with these guidelines and look forward to that contributing to a lessening of our future water consumption.