Students showcase solutions for Darwin water supply

27 June 2019

More than 350 year 7 students unveiled their innovative solutions, campaigns and projects designed to influence water consumption in the Darwin region this week.  

The Darwin Water Challenge showcase took place at Dripstone Middle School on Tuesday and at MacKillop Catholic College on Wednesday, at the end of a four-week curriculum unit called That’s My Water! 

The unit was a collaboration between Power and Water Corporation’s Living Water Smart program, Dripstone Middle School, MacKillop Catholic College, the Department of Education, Bureau of Meteorology and Charles Darwin University.

That’s My Water! drew strongly on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and taught students about the importance of water and the challenges facing Darwin’s water supply.

The students’ final projects spanned multiple learning areas, including science, geography and music, and included scientific models, audio visual presentations, posters, and board games.

Living Water Smart Program Manager Jethro Laidlaw said the unit empowered students to encourage others around them to be water efficient and to understand water supply issues.

“After the poor wet season, having hands-on experience helps students better understand the importance of living water smart. Hopefully, they’ll pass on their knowledge and create generational change about water conservation,” Mr Laidlaw said.

“Students have met and heard from real-world industry professionals in STEM, about issues around water consumption in the Darwin region, such as water evaporation and water sources.” 

Dripstone Middle School Principal, Robyn Thorpe said the project gave students the opportunity to work collaboratively on a real-life problem, to use their creative and innovative thinking to come up with solutions with the support of industry experts.

“Students today want to learn in real-life contexts that have relevance, meaning and purpose,” Ms Thorpe said.

“This inquiry approach to learning moves away from teaching subjects in isolation to a more diverse way of learning cross subjects including STEM.”

The Darwin Water Challenge

Middle School Head at MacKillop Catholic College Lorna Parker praised the initiative.

“It has been great to see the students engaging in attempting to solve real world local challenges,” Ms Parker said.

This is the fourth year That’s My Water! has been running. It has achieved significant results:

•             More than 2,500 students engaged across the Northern Territory
•             75 per cent of Darwin primary schools have participated in a That’s My Water! program
•             Approximately 20 per cent reduction in water use in participating communities 
•             2 in 3 participating students indicate they now take shorter showers
•             1 in 3 participating families had found and fixed a leak.

Many people think that Darwin has an endless supply of water, but this is a myth. We are currently using more water than can be captured and supplied in the long term.