The Source of Life Water Conservation Project aims to improve water use efficiency in ± 35 schools in KwaMakhuta, Ezimbokodweni, Isipingo and Umlazi township areas of Durban South, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa. The aim of the project is to improve water use efficiency through water leak detection and repair within the school facilities. (Vol 32, No 2, 2012)

Most public schools in South Africa lack adequate funds to maintain school facilities, including water and sanitation facilities. Findings indicate that schools generally do not have organisational structures for planned facilities maintenance, nor do they have policies on the maintenance of their facilities . This may lead to infrastructure collapse and failure to function correctly, resulting in leaking toilet systems and taps causing schools to lose hundreds of litres of water daily.

A leaking toilet can waste up to 750 litres of water in a day, depending on the cause of the leak. While a dripping tap at one drop per second could waste up to 10 000 litres per year. (Water Wise)

Water leaks that go undetected and are not repaired cost schools a significant amount of money each year. Addressing the water loss issues in schools can save schools a considerable amount of money. It also helps to reduce the loss of portable water that is currently costing the country billions of rands annually and putting pressure on natural water resources to meet the ever-increasing water demands.

A leaking or dripping tap can waste between 30 to 60 litres of water a day. That is approximately 1500 litres a month

To assist in the assessment of the schools’ water supply infrastructure and subsequently carry out the repairs; the project has commissioned a local plumbing enterprise to carry out the repairs. Through the appointment of a local plumbing business, 5 additional jobs have been created to assist the project in not only servicing the schools but also to record the before and after results with the goal of conserving 10 000m³ of water by the end of the project.

Not only will the project help alleviate high water bills due to water loss for the schools, create jobs through enterprise development and educate learners on our responsibility as water consumers, the project will also bring to light the staggering amounts of water lost due to what seem to be insignificant water leaks and minor plumbing issues.

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