National Water Week (NWW) is organised by the Australian Water Association, and takes place annually during the third week of October, making a splash across Australia (AWA, 2020). National water week focuses on industry organisations, schools and communities by providing ways in which each can take part to create and promote National Water Week events and activities.
Each year a new theme provides an opportunity to look at this precious resource in a new light. The theme for 2020 is Reimagining our Water Future, which is designed to get us to rethink our current water practices to help conserve valuable water resources for the future.
Australia’s Need to Conserve Water
Of all earth’s continents, Antarctica is the only one that gets less rainfall than Australia (Heggie, 2019). Australia has an average rainfall of just 470mm per year, with some states like the Northern Territory seeing around 1,700mm while others like South Australia seeing less than 200mm per year (Heggie, 2019).
In recent years, Western Australia (WA) has experienced the impact of climate change more than other places (BBC, 2018). For example, over the last 15 years, Perth’s water supply has decreased by approximately 80% (Gardian News, 2018). To bridge this shortfall from the decreased rainfall, Perth has had to move from a water supply dependent on dams and rain to a water supply dependent on the desalination plant. Currently, around 50% of our water is supplied by two large desalination plants located on the coast.
Despite being a growing population, WA water consumption actually decreased between 2005 and 2015 from 191,000 litres to 131,000 litres (per capita, per year). This fall has largely been attributed to an increased awareness of water protection and our collective efforts to conserve its supply.
National Water Week
AWA gives high school students the opportunity to get involved in water research by conducting the Australian national competition for the Stockholm Junior Water Prize. The Australian winner is invited to participate in the international competition held each year during National Water Week in Stockholm, competing with over 30 countries in the international final.
This year AWA has also organised a short film competition for primary and high school students. Students are being asked: “How can we reimagine our water future?”. This includes rethinking the way we use and could reuse water to ensure future supply, how our valuable water sources can be conserved and what actions individuals, communities and local councils or Governments can take to move towards a sustainable water future. To find out more, enter or submit a short film visit the AWA website.
The AWA also hold many events across Australia during National Water Week, in which you, your family, your community and your company can get involved. These events include:
- Water Night – Between 5pm to 5am on the evening of Thursday, 22 October, Smart Approved WaterMark is encouraging Australians to use one bucket of water, no taps, no showers, no running water;
- Walk for Water – WaterAid is inviting Australians to walk, run or ride in solidarity with those who need to walk long distances to collect water. Sign up as an individual or organise a walk with colleagues;
- Webinar: SDG Contributions – a webinar to hear the inspiring stories of success, friendships and future opportunities for Australian water professionals to get involved in contributing to the sustainability goals internationally.
For these and more events being held across the nation visit the AWA National water week website for more information.
The AWA also provides valuable learning resources for all who want to get involved. These include general information resources and specific topics of interest including, STEM activities and resources for parents and teachers, water saving ideas, quizzes and advice, audio books and even activities for under 5’s! The page also has a great variety of water saving themed colouring in posters, including ones that incorporate the global goals for sustainable development.
With its focus on educating people about the values of water and its importance in society, National Water Week is a great opportunity to educate Australia’s younger generations. As mentioned, there are countless resources for parents, teachers and schools to engage children in how to protect and conserve water actively. All the details, and additional activity ideas and educational resources can be found on the Australian Water Association website.
The team at Integrate Sustainability support this project and is passionate about sustainable water usage in our community and the environment. If you need help to meet your water management goals or for more advice and assistance, contact us through 08 9468 0338 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
AWA. (2020). National Water Week. Retrieved from Australian Water Association: http://www.awa.asn.au/AWA_MBRR/About_AWA/National_Water_Week.aspx
BBC. (2018). How Australia’sPerth is Batteling a Water Crisis. Retrieved from BBC News: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-27225396
Gardian News. (2018). Perth’s water worries: how one of the driest cities is fighting climate change. Retrieved from from https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/oct/06/perth-western-australia-drought-climate-change-water
Heggie, J. (2019, August). Environment. Retrieved from National Geographic: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/08/partner-content-how-australia-is-securing-its-water-future/