40 years old… still good and tasty!

Imagine that you are drinking water which fell as rain droplets 40 years ago! Reality is stranger than fiction… and yes, the water we drink today, fell on our rocky land in the early 1980s and slowly, slowly, seeped and filtered into the rocks of our islands to be collected today!

OK, OK, I know what you are thinking… there is the reverse-osmosis. In fact, 57% of our tap water originates from the reverse osmosis, and 43% from ground water. But we cannot rely on reverse-osmosis only. Why not?

First of all, the process of reverse-osmosis consumes a lot of energy from electricity. We get electricity from gas and through the interconnector. Don’t forget that gas, whilst one of the cleanest fossil fuels, is still a fossil fuel. Fossil fuels entrap more heat encouraging climate change. This is leading to a hotter and drier climate, meaning less and less water for us and the creatures with whom we share our planet.

Secondly, electricity comes at a financial cost. Using less water from reverse osmosis benefits our climate and our pockets. Hence we need to act now!

Savio College decided to act...

Save Water, Save Life…

With this in mind, the Savio College Students’ Council and Eco-Schools committee (referred as the committee) decided to act. The first thing was to investigate how the School community was consuming and saving water. The committee concluded that as a community we need to:

  1. Increase the efficiency of rain water collection;
  2. Increase rain interception;
  3. Using water more efficiently;
  4. Get to know about this precious resource: water.

1. Collection of Rain Water

The first project was initiated during the scholastic year 2018-19. Thanks to the funds obtained through the Energy and Water Agency, as part of the LIFE EU funding programme, through the Water Educational Campaign, the students obtained grants to restore a water reservoir. The works, which included the sealing of several cracks, meant that more rain water could be collected. This water is used to irrigate the trees around the football and volleyball court.

2. Increase Rain Interception

During the last four years as part of the LEAF programme, the Eco Schools committee together with the students planted more than 80 indigenous trees, including the national tree, the Għargħar (Sandarac gum tree).

Trees are important in the management of water. As trees grow they:

  • Absorb carbon dioxide, (one of the culprits of global warming) and release oxygen in the atmosphere;
  • Help water retention by reducing ground water evaporation. As trees provide shade, the surrounding ground remains cooler and less water evaporates;
  • Help soil to absorb more rain water. With their branches and leaves, trees help to break large raindrops and facilitate rain absorbtion in the soil;
  • Protect soil from being carried by flash floods;
  • Act as soil filters, absorbing excessive minerals, pesticides and fertilizers;
  • Help to reduce sun’s reflectivity, thus reducing heat in the atmosphere;
  • Help our ecosystem. As they become a home for various creatures, trees make the school grounds richer in biodiversity.

3. Saving Water

The third part of the project focused on finding a practical way how to save water. The committee observed that the main source of water wastage was from the taps in the toilets/bathrooms. Students tended to forget closing the taps leaving running water, or kept the tap running for long. After consulting with the Senior Leadership Team, it was decided that conventional taps should be changed to pressure taps.

Students from the committee had to:

  1. Count the taps to be changed;
  2. Fill the application form;
  3. Inform and make the students aware of the project.

4. Save Water Save life Campaign

The concept of the campaign was to create awareness why water is precious, and the importance that we take care of the resource.

To kick-start the campaign, the committee set out to:

  1. Invite Art Options students to draw a logo for the campaign;
  2. Invite students to come up with a slogan in which Save Water Save Life was chosen;
  3. Implement of the education campaign.

The education campaign was based:

  • on the presentation of material prepared by the students on a screen displayed in the main corridor;
  • two roller banners: the first, illustrating the natural water resources of the Maltese islands, and the second one, focusing on ways how to preserve our natural water sources;
  • on a short presentation done by two students and shared with all the other students.

Exhorted by Pope Francis, the stewardship of our surroundings became an integral part of the life at Savio College. As for the honest citizen and good Christian, taking care of our environment, is not an option any more.

Mr Ernest Vella

Students’ Council Coordinator

"Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience.”

Pope Francis Laudato Si, 217