Demanding change in a constrained environment: water usage in schools

Ripunda, Cheroline (2019-12)

Thesis (MEng)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Water shortages are currently a global challenge. The scarcity of water sources is particularly evident in developing countries because of over population and high rates of urbanisation. The challenge is further worsened by the constraints on financial resources in these countries. For example, schools in the Western Cape experienced increased financial losses due water shortages brought on by the drought that hit the province between 2016 to 2018. As such, this research study proposed water demand solutions that use realtime data to understand and manage school water demand. This was done by using historical water data to understand and classify school water use. The effects of socio-economic and political variables on school water demand were then analysed. Thereafter, in an effort to reduce school water demand, two methods were employed to measure the impact of interventions that evaluated school-time and night-time water usage. The first was the MNF method, used to measure water losses. The other, was a RCT, which was used to quantify the reductions in water usage after employing two behavioural interventions, a Information Only and a Social Norm. The results of this research study highlighted several important aspects. The first being the importance of maintenance in managing school water demand. Consequently, effective "quick-fixes" resulted in drastic water usage reductions for several of the participating schools. Secondly, the results revealed that the current governmental funding policies are outdated and hence these policies need to be constantly updated in order to ensure that they influence water demand positively. The RCT results demonstrated that behavioural interventions are valuable in encouraging reduced water usage. Further, the Information Only intervention showed that self-monitoring is important for improving the overall management and maintenance of school water systems. While, the Social Norm intervention helped schools adopt water conservation cultures and was more effective in reducing school water usage during school hours. Overall, this study shed light on a topic that is often neglected, particularly in developing countries.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Raadpleeg teks vir opsomming

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/107034
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