The significance of the project is in its simplicity and cost-effectiveness, if only because it can be easily replicated at thousands of other schools and public buildings leading to huge water savings. More significantly, much of the “wasted” water that was targeted by this type of project would otherwise be lost to evaporation and evapotranspiration rather than making its way back to the resource base via return flows or groundwater recharge. The project – by conducting a situational analysis of water meters, identifying and repairing leaking fittings, and analyzing outcomes from a cost-benefit analysis – showed how carefully planned and properly implemented interventions can lead to tangible and significant results in a short period of time.
The capital cost for the projected amounted to just under US$5.000, financed by the Department of Water Affairs, showed immediate water savings in the order of 50m3/day between both schools. Average water bills at Keidebees and Vele Langa were halved paying for the original investment within six months. Students, in turn, were exposed to the importance of water conservation through an education and awareness building session that could potentially have positive long-term effects.