Rapid Identification and Evaluation of Interventions for Improved Water Performance at South Africa Schools

Water and sanitation costs at South African municipalities have been steadily rising in the last 5 years and are particularly high in water-stressed areas such as Cape Town. Many areas of South Africa also experience water shortages and unreliable water supplies. At the same time, public funding for schools is reducing. Schools, therefore, need to understand their water consumption and be able to rapidly identify and evaluate options to reduce water usage, thereby decreasing costs and improving environmental performance.

In order to identify the smartest options for reducing water consumption, a rapid identification and evaluation methodology is proposed. Characteristics of existing infrastructure and usage are modelled in a School Water Use Model (SWUM). Results from this modelling are used to identify potential interventions for improved performance. These are evaluated and compared using the SWUM and ranked in terms of impact and applicability. The SUM-based methodology is tested by applying this to school in Pretoria, South Africa.

The application and results of the SWUM-based methodology show promise as a rapid way of identifying, and evaluating, interventions to improve the sustainability performance of water systems in schools in South Africa. Recommendations for further development of the approach are made.

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