From the KPI’s on the home page of First Look, it is relatively easy to verify that water bills are a greater burden to schools, costing some in excess of R50 000 each month, whilst electricity varies between R10 000 and R20 000.
Closer investigation illustrates the Average consumption of Electricity per day per learner is less than 1 kWh per day per learner, while water is more than 90 Litres per day per learner.
NOTE: This comparison is not intended to diminish the need for energy efficiency, in itself a serious problem, we merely illustrate the cost implication and the financial burden on schools, between the services.
Thames Water Website (UK) tell us: “Primary schools use 7m³ of water per pupil per year (35 Litres per day), with secondary schools using 11m³ per pupil per year (55 Litres per day) (Water Watch 2005) on average.
With careful water management, most schools can reduce this figure to around 4m³ per pupil per year, (20 Litres per day) benefiting the school's budget and environmental performance.”
Although we cannot assume how water in the UK schools is consumed, the onus of saving water certainly appears far more critical in South Africa, where, according to the United Nations Environment Programme: “With only 1 007 m3 of renewable water available to each inhabitant in 2008, South Africa is already hovering dangerously close to the international water scarcity threshold (FAO 2008).”
Is this preoccupying? We believe it is…and it is our individual and collective responsibility to address this situation in our schools..