Growing a water-smart community is important. A better understanding of where water comes from and how it is used benefits us all. Education from an early age can assist in building the knowledge needed for the future.
Water and water efficiency can be integrated into education programs from primary school to VCE. Many programs exist that schools, families and communities can tap into for water education. Find out about some of them by following the links below.
The Schools Water Efficiency Program (SWEP) is funded by DELWP. It assists Victorian schools to monitor water usage while also educating students on water consumption.
SWEP provides schools with data loggers that continuously record water use. Access to an interactive SWEP web portal means this information can also be used as part of the school curriculum. So, as well as helping manage water use by identifying high water usage and leaks (saving water and money), the program demonstrates water efficiency in practice for students.
The wide-ranging benefits of this innovative program have been recognised nationally. SWEP was judged the winner of the Victorian Branch of the Australian Water Association in the 2012 Program Innovation Award category. SWEP was also a finalist in the 2013 Premier’s Sustainability Awards and won the 2014 United Nations Association of Australia Excellence in Sustainable Water Management award.
The data loggers and the first year's web services are provided free to schools. A fee of $150 applies for each year after year one of the program.
In the classroom
SWEP’s web platform is designed to assist teachers and students. Important daily data is accumulated and can be studied and taught, supported by a classroom curriculum resource.
SWEP provides the following:
- Supply and installation of data loggers to every school that joins the program. There is a maximum of two free data loggers, but schools can buy more.
- Help to schools with existing SWEP data loggers.
- Access to web-based platform for delivering school-specific water data. This is in collaboration with education materials and the ability to report on school water consumption.
- Feedback on leaky pipes, faulty appliances and high water use on school premises.
After the success and savings achieved, the SWEP program now offers an electricity monitoring service (further eligibility criteria apply).
To register for the program and for more information, please visit the SWEP website.
WaterWatch and EstuaryWatch Victoria aims to connect communities in protecting and managing local waterways.
The program supports thousands of Victorian volunteers who monitor and care for local creeks, wetlands, groundwater, rivers, and estuaries:
Volunteers are supported by a network of program co-ordinators who provide:
- water quality and biological monitoring training and support
- education and awareness-raising activities to schools and community groups
- partnership opportunities around the health of our waterways. This can be between all levels of government, private business and the community.
Visit WaterWatch Victoria and EstuaryWatch Victoria.
In 2020, DELWP and the Geography Teachers Association of Victoria (GTAV) collaborated on water education resources. Featuring games, role play exercises, and case studies, they allow teachers and students to learn more about water in Victoria. Themes covered include:
- surface water and catchments
- how water is managed
- the environment.
Built for year 7 and year 10, they were introduced into classrooms in late 2021.
Visit the GTAV.
The Victorian Government introduced ResourceSmart Schools in 2008. The program provides practical support to build more sustainable schools. This includes:
- reducing resource use
- make cost savings
- integrate sustainability into the classroom
- share learnings beyond the school gate.
This offers students the opportunity to learn about sustainability in everything they do. Any Victorian school can become a ResourceSmart School by registering online.
Visit ResourceSmart Schools.
The Smart Water Advice website offers educational water resources. This is a collaboration between DELWP, Victoria's water corporations and The Water Conservative. It targets households, schools, government, and business.
- water saving tips
- water calculator
- educational video and factsheets
- interactive platforms.
River Detectives is an education initiative of catchment management authorities and Melbourne Water. It inspires teachers and students to understand, appreciate and care for their local waterway. This is done through engaging, cross-curricular, citizen-science activities.
River Detectives is a free, flexible and fun way to connect young people to nature through monthly water quality testing. Students learn how water, land, plants, animals, people and communities are all integrally linked. Schools are provided with equipment, training and teaching resources.
Learn more about River Detectives.
A range of water education resources are available from your local water corporation.
Melbourne Water Corporation education sites
Victorian regional water corporation education sites
National Water Week
The Australian Water Association (AWA) encourages schools and communities to take part in National Water Week events, activities, and educational resources.
Visit the Australian Water Association website.
Page last updated: 19/05/23