A Little Big Water Distribution Revolution

ASW eighth grade math students received an assignment to make three proposals for the improvement of the drinking water distribution system in ASW. The aim of the assignment is to figure out which system is the most efficient, sustainable and fits the needs of the school community.

The students have had to calculate the annual costs of the current drinking water distribution systems at ASW, the current market price of various coolers and fountains (in case they were considering a replacement option), the volume of water that is being consumed at the whole school level, and compare these costs.

Some of the basic data was provided to them by ASW's Facilities Management Division (FMD). The students worked individually under close supervision of their teacher, Mr. Patrick Kearnan, and later shared their results with their class.

Interestingly, many of the resulting proposals focused on similar improvements: reducing the number of water coolers to a minimum; replacing the current water fountains with new ones; modifying the current fountains by adding longer spouts that would allow users to easily refill their water bottles.

To account for the different age groups that use the fountains, additional issues were taken into consideration besides cost, water quality, environmental impact etc. For instance, would the younger children be able to reach a proposed fountain that was 1.27 meters tall? Some students suggested providing wooden or plastic stepping stools; they concluded that the wooden steps would come with a small additional cost, while the plastic ones, although cheaper, would create more waste in the long run.

The general direction of thought was that the amount of PET bottles, and the plastic cups used in the water coolers, will decrease as more people would switch to the more eco-friendly and cheaper water fountains. The best projects were presented to the school's Director and FMD for future consideration.

And that is not all. The FMD department decided to initiate a pilot project by modifying one of the existing water fountains. Now everyone who is willing to test the upgraded water fountains is welcome to do so by checking out the fountain in the Hall of Flags, near the entrance to the cafeteria.

An information campaign about the possible changes may be on the way as well.

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