With the recent threat of Day Zero in the Western Cape, we all need to be a lot wiser about our water usage. This is especially important for businesses. And, at the end of the day, the university you attend or work at is a business which has large numbers of people making use of its premises each and every day. This means that its water usage is likely extremely high, which is a problem that needs to be solved as soon as possible.

You may be thinking that you can’t do much about the water usage of your university as a student. However, that is not the case. You may not know much about industrial water recycling or have the power to implement processes which save money, but you can still make a difference. And if you are a decision-maker at the university, you should be using your power to influence change.

If you are wondering how you can encourage your university to save water, here are three ways that you can do just that.

Campaign for everyday waterwise practices

As a university student or a staff member at the university, it is likely that you have either been involved in or experienced many campus campaigns. From who to vote for in the student representative council elections to initiatives for recycling and reusing plastic, there are campaigns around campus almost every single day. So, as someone who cares deeply about conserving water, you should create a campaign for everyday waterwise practices.

Start with posters and place them in the bathrooms on campus and anywhere else where water is being used in high volumes. You can easily ask the university to help fund this campaign. There is likely a society at the university that deals with eco-conscious students. Speak to them about whether or not they have the budget to help pay for these posters.

Next, make use of your campus media. If your campus has a newspaper, magazine or radio station, make use of these mediums to campaign for your waterwise cause. You can outline why people should be saving water and how they can do this in their everyday lives.

You may be wondering what these everyday waterwise practices are. Well, they all include thinking logically about the water you use in your daily life. For example, wait to flush the toilet until it is hygienically necessary and is important in order to keep the area clean and usable. You should also use hand sanitizer instead of water where possible. People should shower for as short a time as possible. Take note of when you use water throughout the day and consider how you could cut the amount of water wastage in half.

Speak to those in charge about wastewater recycling processes

Now that you have informed the students about what they can do to save water, you can have a word or two with those who are in charge. Make a case for introducing water recycling technology to campus. Look at wastewater treatment processes that could be used at the university and put together a presentation which includes a budget for any wastewater reuse and potable reuse concept you have come up with.

You need to be prepared, however, for them to argue that water saving should be taken care of at a municipal and industrial level. Explain to them that water resources should be every person’s concern, especially those who are in charge of making decisions at a business. Whether you are their employee or a student, you should speak with confidence because you believe in the cause.

Find speakers from a wastewater recycling plant

At the end of the day, you are at a university and this means that people want to learn. And what better way to encourage university students and those in charge to take water conservation seriously than by organising a lecture? You can invite people from a water treatment plant to speak at the event. They can explain subjects like sludge treatment, water reclamation and municipal wastewater treatment.

The people who deal with primary treatment and secondary treatment of water are generally passionate about water conservation. They are experts in the field and know how to talk to people about treating wastewater as well as the importance of saving water where possible.

Final thoughts

At the end of the day, we need to conserve this important natural resource and it is every person’s duty to contribute to this worthy cause. As a student or university employee, you have many platforms which you can use to speak to students and those in charge about what you can do to save water and treat and recycle water. So, gather your friends or colleagues who also believe in the importance of water conservation and start a campaign, speak to those in charge and invite an expert from a wastewater treatment plant to speak at a lecture. We all need to do our part to save the planet and this vital resource.

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