New water education centre paves the way for better community engagement

Posted 5 June 2017

Water educationOne utility is looking to future water consumers to boost community engagement and water conservation with a purpose-built water education centre. 

Residents of the Hunter have been gradually reducing their water use over the past three decades. The Hunter Water Centre for Education, the first in the region, “will help continue this trend by getting people interested in and excited about water starting at a young age”, said Hunter Water Managing Director Jim Bentley.

The Centre aims to accomplish this through free programs for school-aged children across the region in an effort to encourage water-saving behaviours early, said Minister for Energy and Utilities Don Harwin, who officially opened the centre. 

“This will provide local kids with a greater appreciation for water, and the knowledge they gain will make for more efficient users,” he said.

“Water is our most precious resource, and through the unique, locally focused learning experience provided by Hunter Water experts, students will learn about where their water comes from and why it’s so vital to conserve it.” 

Although most children learn general information about the water cycle and wastewater at school, they often miss out on a local focus, said Hunter Water Media and Stakeholder Manager Nick Kaiser. 

“What kids are getting with our Centre for Education is the first of its kind; it’s completely tailored to what’s happening here in the Hunter,” he said.

“A multi-faceted approach is required to increase efficient water consumption. You need both the technology aspect – such as recycled water plants – but also the behaviour changes, which you get through good education.” 

Additionally, educating children in smart water use will reduce pressure on local water supplies, said Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald. 

“The Centre for Education will give students important lessons on the sewage system, an essential but not often talked about area where better education can prevent problems like the fatberg blockages plaguing pipes across Australia,” he said.

And as proof that everyone loves a little toilet humour, students will of course be taught the golden rule of what to flush and what not to flush – the Three Ps: only “poo, pee and paper” in the toilet.