GARDEN ROUTE NEWS - Saving water is everyone's responsibility. Thus the Western Cape Educations Department (WCED) has made new voluntary subsidies available to schools that want to play their part in ensuring a sustainable and secure water future for the Western Cape, by installing smart water meters.
"The department is committed to environmental sustainability, and given the footprint of schools in the province, we are significant users of natural resources," says minister Debbie Schäfer.
She says these devices will help schools manage their water usage better and assist in resolving problems with water infrastructure speedily. "Maintaining a stable water supply has never been more important. We have seen the challenges that a lack of water has created across the country at a time when washing hands frequently and cleaning surfaces regularly are essential to stop the spread of the coronavirus."
It was not too long ago, says Schäfer, that the province suffered one of the worst droughts in decades. "Just as we are working together to tackle Covid-19, we must together maintain our commitment to conserving our most precious resource: water."
Schäfer says they have already undertaken a successful pilot project by installing water meters at 350 schools. Millions of litres of water (and thousands of rand) have been saved by schools through the installation of meters, maintenance of water infrastructure and behaviour change among staff and learners.
The department is making subsidies available to public ordinary schools to cover the costs of installing these water metering devices and to support online reporting services that will provide information on water consumption patterns at the schools." The water monitoring devices also generate notifications when problems that would normally go undetected occur – like burst pipes or leaks."
The WCED subsidy will cover the installation costs for the water monitoring devices (capped) per school and the monthly service fees (capped and renewable annually, subject to conditions met), for an agreed period. Schools will be required to enter directly into a service contract with a water metering supplier that is able to meet certain technical conditions.
Information on how to register interest in the subsidies and to check if a school meets the required technical conditions, has been sent to schools over the past week.
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