When John McVean the Business Manager at Wodonga Senior Secondary College registered for the Schools Water Efficiency Program (SWEP) it’s fair to say he had little idea as to what would unfold over the following days.
After the installation of data loggers, the SWEP team monitor the water consumption at each school to determine if there are any technical issues with the data loggers. Within two days of the installation at Wodonga Senior Secondary College it was obvious there was a substantial issue, the school had a leak of approximately 1,200 litres per hour or 20 litres per minute.
Confirming all technical possibilities had been eliminated the SWEP team contacted John to discuss this alarming water usage. With no notable evidence of excessive usage such as broken toilet, wet concrete or muddy patches on the school ovals John was at a loss to explain the incredible spike in the schools water usage.
John conducted a leak test by recording the reading on the schools water meter at the end of a school day and compared that to the meter reading the following morning. The volume of water recorded by the meter matched the data delivered by the data loggers, confirming that the school indeed had a significant leak.
Weekend maintenance staff identified a small crack in a pressurised boiler pipe that ran under the school buildings. The result was thousands of litres of water being leaked into the ground under the school. With no easy way of visibly verifying this leak, it could have continued for quite some time.
The immediate repair of this boiler pipe has reduced the schools leakage by an incredible 90% and despite working with infrastructure that’s more than 50 years old John intends to reduce the schools water losses to as close to zero as he possible can.
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.