Clairvaux Catholic School and Barwon Water partner to save water

Finding a massive water leak under a school building led to water savings through the free Government Schools Water Efficiency Program (SWEP).

A large water bill and subsequent discovery of a significant water leak under one of their school buildings prompted Clairvaux Catholic School to contact Barwon Water. It led to the Belmont school joining the free Victorian Government Schools Water Efficiency Program (SWEP).

As part of SWEP, the school has now installed a data logger. Clairvaux can now monitor their hourly water consumption via an online dashboard and receive same-day alerts.

Clairvaux School Administration Officer Angela Hatch said that the data logger would have shown higher-than-usual water usage if the school had been part of SWEP when the leak began. They would have been alerted to the problem.

“Recently, we had a large hidden water leak under one of our classrooms, which went undetected for weeks,” said Hatch. “This impacted both our building and our water bill. Repairing the leak earlier would have saved money and water, so we’re now looking forward to the benefits of real-time monitoring of water consumption. We are excited to see the benefits of being part of this program. As we all know, every drop counts.”

As part of SWEP, Barwon Water has also provided more than $1,300 to Clairvaux to help cover their higher bill and the cost of repairs to the leak that had gone undetected.

Supporting the community to save water

Barwon Water General Manager of Customers, Community and Strategy Laura Kendall said she was pleased the program could help another school save water and money on their bills.

“With our growing population and changing climate, we’re asking the community to really value water and use it wisely,” said Kendall. “Barwon Water is using digital technology like data loggers to help schools detect and repair leaks, which can make a big difference in saving water, as can many other simple actions in our day-to-day lives, like sticking to a four-minute shower, turning the tap off while brushing your teeth, and watering your garden early in the morning or in the evening to minimise water loss due to evaporation. Managing water more integrated and sustainably will help preserve this precious resource.”

Last year, 88 schools participated in the SWEP across Barwon Water’s region. Since the program started in 2012, schools have collectively saved more than 1 billion litres of drinking water and $3.4 million in water-related charges.

Thanks to assistance from Barwon Water and the Victorian Government, it’s free for schools to sign up and participate.

SWEP includes curriculum resources and is a great way to combine maths, science and environmental studies for students using real-world examples.

For more information and to register your school, visit or email

Barwon Water also has a dedicated school education program to support schools and the broader community in using water sustainably.

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