In an effort to promote judicious use of water in educational institutions, the Rain Centre will soon conduct a water audit in several schools across the city.

The centre plans to cover 30 schools in the first phase next month, including those run by government. The centre's director Sekhar Raghavan said a questionnaire is being prepared and it would be distributed to schools soon.

Many schools do not pay much attention to the amount of water consumed or how groundwater could be optimally used. Many of the institutions instead depend on tanker supply, which comes at a cost, or use drinking water for all purposes.

Mr. Raghavan and his team members who have advised many educational institutions on water resource management and rainwater harvesting plan to use the Centre's experience to conduct the audit.

“Even some reputed schools do not understand the need to manage water resources efficiently and harness rainwater. They spend heavily on purchasing water. Flooding on school premises can be prevented to some extent if rainwater harvesting is implemented properly,” he said. The centre plans to collect information on the daily water consumption, student strength, the area of the school premises, availability of water resources and quality and whether rainwater harvesting has been implemented.

Based on the findings of water audit, the team from the centre would visit the educational institutions and provide advice free of cost on water management and cost cutting measures. “We are also looking for schools that have big campus, as there is more potential for harnessing rainwater,” Mr. Raghavan said.

The centre would also conduct awareness programme on water conservation and the importance of rainwater harvesting for school students as they would carry the message to their families. Students would be taught about use of different qualities of water for various purposes.

Representatives of various schools welcomed the move and awareness programmes for children. V.M.Kalavalli, headmistress of a government school in Ashok Nagar, said water from 10 borewells on the school premises is used by nearly 4,000 students.

Until a reverse osmosis plant was installed recently, the school was dependent on drinking water supplied by Chennai Metrowater.

V.Suma Padmanabhan, principal, Asan Memorial Senior Secondary School, said groundwater was used extensively for non-potable purposes and RWH system ensured the availability of water throughout the year.

The school has installed taps with push buttons to ensure that water is not wasted.

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