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Twenty schools from across T&T will participate in a competition which challenges students to construct and design a model for a system that will enhance water conservation methods.
The Water and Sewerage Authority’s 2014 In The Know with H2O Design and Build competition will give students the opportunity to develop innovative projects that will assist consumers in utilising less water to do more activities.
The competition, part of an ongoing initiative by WASA’s Public Education Centre, which was first launched in 2011, was developed to foster appreciation for water and the environment among the youth, through the participation of secondary schools.
In previous years, schools participated in national quizzes that focused on topics such as water production, transmission and distribution, water pollution, integrated wastewater management, reclamation and reuse and a dry season plan among others.
This is the first time, according to WASA’s acting CEO Gerard Yorke, students will be expected to use their knowledge gained particularly in the area of water conservation for projects that will maximise the use for domestic, agricultural, commercial or tourism sector purposes.
At the launch of the competition last month at WASA’s Public Education Centre in St Joseph, Yorke said the competition was also in keeping with the 1965 Water and Sewerage Act 54:40 which mandates WASA to promote the conservation and proper use of water resources, a mandate it takes very seriously.
Permanent secretary in the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources Vidia Ramkhelawan, who delivered the feature address on behalf of Minister Ganga Singh, said the ministry was happy to support a competition that focuses mainly on the conservation of water. She said water scarcity was among the main problems facing societies and the world in the 21st century.
“Water use has been growing at more than twice the rate of a population increase in the last century, and, although there is no global water scarcity as such, an increasing number of regions are chronically short of water,” she said.
Ramkhelawan said the competition highlights in a significant way how issues such as water conservation, the quality, quantity and distribution of water and how it impacts our daily lives, can be addressed.
Participating schools received $5,000 as “seed” money to assist with the construction and design of their model.
At the competition’s conclusion in September, the winner will receive $100,000, while second and third place will get $50,000 and $25,000, respectively. The competition begins in May.