School’s number one way to save water

Members of the Earth Children group from Rustenburg Girls High School, from left, Mikaela van Otterlo, Olivia Key and Rebecca Behne, at the We R Waterwise indicator in the toilet.

Rustenburg Girls’ High School pupils who are part of the Earth Child programme started the “We R Waterwise” initiative to encourage water-saving as the city faces a severe water shortage.

And the project, which was started last month, has already yielded positive results.

Myles Siebrits, campus manager at Rustenburg Girls’ High School, said that the initiative had saved 8 000 litres a week at the school.

“Basically every toilet in school has five yellow toilets and one brown toilet. The yellow toilet has a indicator wheel which shows one to 10.

“As each girl goes in, they use the hand on the clock and they do not flush.”

The yellow toilet is for a number one only and has a round indicator wheel with numbers from one to 10.

The brown toilet is for a number two only.

When using the yellow toilet, the girls will move the dial on the indicator wheel to whatever is the next number.

When they are finished, they will not flush and will throw the toilet paper in a brown paper bag behind the door.

They then spray disinfectant in the toilet bowl.

This cycle continues until the arm on the indicator wheel reaches 10. The toilet will then be flushed.

* The girls use waterless sanitiser to clean their hands to avoid using water.

All the toilet paper collected in the brown paper bag is incinerated and used to produce compost.

The Earth Children – pupils Olivia Key, Mikaela van Otterlo and Rebecca Behne – deal with the environmental projects at the school.

Olivia, who is in Grade 12 and head of the group, said: “We needed to implement the dial system just to save water. We found out that our toilets use an incredible amount of water, and we wanted to look at ways that the school can save water.”

Mikaela, a Grade 10 pupil, had some help from her mom to design the dial system.

Principal Michael Gates said the pupils had started the project on their own.

“The learners are all taking responsibility for saving water, and they keep encouraging each other to do so not just at school but also at home.”

In its efforts to tread lightly on the earth, the school introduced the Sustainability Steering Committee in 2014, and since then has installed solar water heating systems and light sensors around