Activity aims to increase student awareness in protecting water bodies

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 13 May 2011

Seven Joburg primary schools are competing in the Schools Water Audit and Monitoring Competition, which looks at the quality of water in local rivers.

Bullfrog numbers are dwindling at a frightening rate. Photo: Louis du Preez

The schools are Tsosane from Ivory Park; Wilhelmina Hoskins from Riverlea; Julius Sebolai from Bram Fischerville; Khomanani from Diepkloof; Ikage from Alexandra; Kensington from Kensington; and Refalletsi from Orange Farm. From each school, 60 children will take part in the competition.

It is supported by the City’s environmental management department in partnership with City Parks, Joburg Zoo and Rand Water. Speaking at the launch of the competition at the zoo on 11 May, the member of the mayoral committee for environment, Matshidiso Mfikoe, said its purpose was to promote environmental education and awareness.

“The activity aims to increase student awareness and involvement in protecting water bodies by engaging them to monitor the water condition in their community,” said Mfikoe.

For six months, using simple test kits, learners and teachers will take water samples from their nearest water bodies to test temperature, acidity (pH), clarity (turbidity), and dissolved oxygen. Environmental specialists will visit the schools to explain how to carry out water quality data collection.

Learners will also be briefed on how to do a basic flora and fauna survey using the South African Scoring System (Mini SASS). Winners will be announced by the City after six months.

“As … future leaders, we need to start finding ways to manage our natural resources,” said Mfikoe.

South Africa is a water scarce country. Demand for water in Gauteng already exceeds the available supply; and it grows at approximately 4 percent every year. Stephen van der Spuy, the zoo’s chief executive, encouraged the schoolchildren to look after their water bodies.

He also showed them a bullfrog; the amphibians are facing extinction because of the pollution of water bodies. “Please let us save water because it is life,” he said.

Bullfrog numbers are dwindling at a frightening rate. Habitat loss, climate change, pollution and a devastating fungus are proving deadly to the amphibians.

Entertainment on the day came from Tsosane Primary School learners, who performed a short play to highlight the importance of saving water. Amanzi, Rand Water’s mascot, also entertained the children with dances and songs. It also encouraged the audience to save water.

Inspired by Amanzi’s dancing, the children also got to their feet to dance and sing.

The competition is held under the auspices of World Water Monitoring Day, a global education outreach programme that aims to build public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources around the world by empowering citizens to carry out basic monitoring of their local water bodies.

Source: City of Johannesburg

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