At Beckenham Primary School in Western Australia, students noticed that the air conditioning unit keeping their classroom cool would gush water whenever it was turned off, so they wondered what solutions they could come up with to reuse that wastewater.

The students discovered that they could collect the water using old, reticulated pipes and hard plastic tubs, and then transport that water to garden areas around the school grounds. That way, the water is reabsorbed into the soil rather than just going down the drain, which helps make their school greener and more sustainable! The next step is to grow the project to include the other classrooms with leaking units, and eventually to install more permanent plumbing that directs the wastewater to the gardens.

As a result of this Alcoa W5 project, students are more aware of the importance of conserving water resources, even through small actions like turning off a dripping tap! The students also learned about how to design innovative solutions and use recycled materials and equipment to solve environmental problems.

“It was fantastic to observe the children learning about water conservation and recycling. It was interesting to see the amount of water currently being wasted through the schools evaporative air conditioning system and the children’s enthusiasm to design solutions to reduce the wastage of water.” – Zoe Savill, Volunteer at Beckenham Primary School

Beckenham Primary is a very diverse school, where about 58% of students have two parents that were born overseas. There are also a number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families in the school community. Projects like this help bring the community together to create an inclusive and sustainable school environment that everyone can build and enjoy!

The Alcoa W5 project activities at Beckenham Primary School support the following SDGs: