Students from schools across Adelaide tackled the complexities of urban water supply this week at SA Water’s innovative Sustainability Challenge workshop, to build analytical skills and their knowledge of environmental and socio-economic factors.
The Sustainability Challenge’s new format lets students in grades six to nine become ‘sustainability detectives,’ investigating how water and wastewater can be supplied to towns in responsible ways.
Using a workshop format, the students soaked up principles of urban planning, populations and demographics while learning about the water cycle and the treatment processes required for different water sources.
Alison Wilson, Community Investment Lead Consultant at SA Water said the workshops are part of the corporation’s commitment to teaching students about how water resources are managed.
“Our students become environmental, social and financial investigators, posing their own questions and finding the answers to build water and wastewater infrastructure for an entire community,” Alison said.
“We’ve developed six new 3-D maps of a land area, specially designed and precision-crafted with a laser cutter, so students can create a model urban development.
“The students apply their knowledge by planning where to build houses and farms, and working out how to sustainably supply an entire town with safe, clean drinking water and effective sanitation.
“It helps students understand water is a precious resource that supports life, and the earth’s population of 7.5 billion people.
“Although 75 per cent of the earth’s surface is covered in water, only 1 per cent is fresh water that we can drink, and most of that is stored in underground aquifers rather than on the earth’s surface,” Alison said.
The workshops were held at SA Water’s Learning Centre in Victoria Square where students in teams of five learned how to design a town with sustainable water and sewerage services.
These hands-on sessions hold water for teachers too, aligning with South Australia’s school curriculum.
Almost 1,800 students have taken part in the program since it first started in 2011, with the educational activity scheduled to run for two seasons, reaching around 450 students this year.
As well as Sustainability Challenge, SA Water’s education program supports tours, workshops and shows such as Slippery Stuff, Follow That Drop and Just Add Water for school-age children across the state.
Sustainability Challenge is now taking bookings for next year’s June and October seasons. Schools interested in booking a future educational session, or looking for educational resources can visit sawater.com.au
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