After monitoring the schools water usage for a few weeks, one Tuesday morning Wayne was alerted to the fact that there was huge overnight water use at the school. It became apparent that the school was experiencing multiple leaks that added up to more than 520 litres per hour being wasted.
The main leakage was from a broken rubber seal attached to the evaporative air conditioners. This resulted in water running constantly through the air conditioner rather than being stored, used and disposed of as per normal operating procedure. Toilets located in the school gym also contributed to the problem, as leaking cisterns were contributing an estimated 150 litres per hour to the overall losses.
In addition, the school has a tank to toilet system for flushing toilets and a tripped valve saw mains water used instead of tank water, while not strictly a leak, it still remained a cause of increased mains water use.
Once the necessary repairs were made to the air conditioning system and the schools toilets the schools overall water use has dropped dramatically.
SWEP data loggers have been in place detecting leaks and issues at Mill Park Secondary College for a number of months now, this period has allowed the school to make comparisons in water use and ultimately assess the difference in its water bills.
Since having data loggers in place the schools water bills have dropped a dramatic 50% when compared to their average bill for the last 12 months.
Although located on a large site where there is always the possibility of small amount of water being lost, Wayne and his team are making best use of the SWEP website and are dedicated to reducing their water losses to zero.
This means schools drawing much or all of their water usage from facilities such as tanks or bores are eligible to have data loggers fitted to these devices to provide them with the best possible analysis of their water consumption.
SWEP is available to every school across the state and the program will subsidise the cost of the supply and installation for all participating schools. Schools are still required to commit to paying access fees for the program in years two and three of $150 (ex GST).
Where the majority of the schools consumption is supplied by non-reticulated means, such as tank or bore water, SWEP will also subsidise the cost of installing a meter so a data logger may be installed.
SWEP is delivered and funded by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and the Department of Education and Training. Yarra Valley Water is the project manager for the program on behalf of the Victorian Government.