Our Australian climate and rainfall can affect the fresh water supply to our communities. Investigations into water use and management can lead to using water more efficiently through behaviours, technologies and systems.

Sustainability action process learning resources

The sustainability action process is a five step process that supports problem solving through active student participation. These resources provide a structured and consistent approach to teaching sustainability across the curriculum and support learning outcomes in science, technology, geography, mathematics and English.

Water audits

There are three main components of water audits to assess your current situation – reading water bills, taking daily measurements from the water meter and assessing taps and bubblers for leakages.

Water consumption

Analyse water bills to determine the school’s water use. Identify seasonal patterns in water use over a year. Analyse rainfall statistics to investigate correlations between weather and water use.

Daily measurements

Read your school’s water meter at the same time each day for a school week. The difference in the meter reading between two consecutive days is on day’s water consumption. Graph the daily consumption over a week. Calculate the average daily consumption.

Develop and propose strategies to reduce water consumption in the school. Consider water efficiency and sustainable sources of water for toilet flushing and watering gardens.

Check for leaks

Walk around the school and assess taps and bubblers for drips and leakages. Capture and measure the volume of drips and leaks over a set period. Multiply the volume to calculate water loss over an hour, day and week.

Read the water meter directly after weekends and periods of school holidays to identify potential major pipe leaks or unexpected consumption figures for further investigation. Regularly read your school’s water meter at the end of one day after the cleaners have left and the beginning of the next, before the cleaners arrive, to check for water leaks during out-of-hours.

Take action

Contribute to a sustainable future by taking actions to conserve water and use it efficiently. This includes reducing water wastage and encouraging stormwater harvesting and use.

Vacy Public School - Super water girl (02:39 min) by Hunter Water, in association with Vacy Public School, models a student communication product on promoting water-wise behaviours.

Marrickville West Public School eco water garden – a collaborative project between Inner West Council and the school in constructing an outdoor classroom and play area with a rain garden to filter stormwater run-off.

Syllabus content

Water audits provide opportunities for students to work mathematically in collecting, analysing and representing data.

Investigations into efficient and sustainable water use enable students to use geographical inquiry skills in support of the Geography K-10 Syllabus in:

  • Stage 2 The Earth’s environment – significance of environments; protection of environments
  • Stage 3 Factors that shape places – factors that change environments; humans shape places
  • Stage 4 Water in the world
  • Stage 5 Sustainable biomes – changing biomes
  • Stage 5 Environmental change and management – environmental change.

Investigations into water as a resource use working scientifically and design and production skills in support of the Science and Technology K-6 Syllabus and Technology Mandatory 7-8 Syllabus in:

  • Stage 1 Earth and space – use and conservation of Earth’s resources
  • Stage 2 Material world – materials are used for a specific purpose
  • Stage 3 Material world – properties of materials determine their use
  • Stage 4 Engineered systems.

Additional resources

Water management, by School Infrastructure NSW, provides advice on actions to reduce water consumption in schools (staff only).

Water efficiency, provides suggestions by the Australian Government.

A guide to implementing waste as art and environmental art projects in schools (DOCX 92.02 KB) and Precious water (DOCX 831.6 KB), by NSW Department of Education, provide learning sequences that explore resource use through visual arts.


  • Teaching and learning

Business Unit:

  • Educational Standards
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