Water Conservation And Management

Study water conservation and water management online. Learn how to better manage water resources for a sustainable and quality water supply, and for flood mitigation.

Course Code: BEN302
Fee Code: S3
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Water is Highly Valued 


Knowing How to Manage Water is a High Demand Skill!
  • Learn to manage water quality
  • Learn to manage water use
  • Learn to create and implement a water management plan, for home, or work
  • Reduce your environmental footprint, save money, improve quality of life
  • Advance your career or business opportunities for working in water supply, water services, environmental, agricultural or horticultural industries

Water is the most important resource to sustain life. All living organisms need water to survive. This course will teach you how to conserve this precious resource in various situations from the home environment to industry. Lesson cover water conservation at home, in the workplace, water management, conservation in primary production, health, recycling and more.

 

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to water conservation
    • Importance of water
    • The water cycle rainfall, evaporation, infiltration, effective rainfall
    • Water sources and storage water quality
    • Facts on water uses water use at home, in primary and other industries
    • Why conserve water personal, regional and global significance
  2. Water conservation at home
    • In Australia
    • In the United Kingdom
    • In the United States
    • Measures undertaken to save water in the home in the kitchen, bathroom and in the garden.
    • Water Saving Devices
  3. Water conservation in the workplace
    • General principles
    • Implementing water saving strategies
    • Installing small appliances
    • Large water saving devices
  4. Water management
    • Water quality maintaining water quality, salinity, chemical contaminants
    • Controlling Use and Quality of Water water flow measurement, water quality control, testing water salinity
    • Preserving Water Quality minimising evaporation, water sanitation
    • Water Audits
    • Water Management Plans
  5. Water conservation in Primary Production I
    • Water Saving Measures
    • Water Wise Plants
    • Water Wise Procedures
    • Water Wise Irrigation systems
    • Water Wise Landscaping
    • Equipment, structures and tools to save water
  6. Water conservation in Primary Production II
    • Use of water in primary production
    • Methods of water storage
    • Rainwater collection and storage
    • Bore water
    • Farm dams planning, lined ponds
    • Water Requirements livestock requirements, domestic requirements
    • Water Quality
    • Water Problems on Farms contamination and disposal of water, evaporation, seepage, runoff, overspray, scheduling
    • Using Farm Waste Water
    • Irrigation System Design
    • Maintenance Procedures and Scheduling
    • Surface/Flood Irrigation
    • Sprinkler Irrigation
    • Swales and Keylines
  7. Water conservation in Services industries
    • Use of Water in Services Industry
    • Contamination and Disposal of Water
    • Reduce/Reuse/Recycle
  8. Water conservation and Health
    • Hospitals, nursing homes, laundries, clinical laboratories, dental practices, human and animal research facilities
    • Uses of water in Health Industry control pathogens, general use
    • Water minimisation
    • Water efficiency
  9. Water conservation in other sectors
    • Use of water in manufacturing, construction and heavy industry
    • Water use in the production process
    • Examples of water using activities in food facilities
    • Water holding
    • Benefits of cleaner production
  10. Water treatment, reuse and recycling
    • Water Sanitation filtering and disinfection
    • Water Reuse and Recycling classification and composition of waste water.
    • Recycling Wastewater
    • Wastewater treatment
    • Suitable plants
    • Treating saline water

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Explain the importance of water in the world and the reasons for its sustainable conservation and management.
  • Explain the importance of water conservation and methods to save water at the workplace.
  • Explain the importance of water conservation and methods to save water at home.
  • Explain water flow and quality control.
  • Explain water audits and water management plans.
  • Explain the importance of water conservation and methods to save water in Horticulture
  • Explain the importance of water conservation and methods to save water in Agriculture.
  • Explain the importance of water conservation and methods to save water in the Services Industry.
  • Explain the importance of water conservation and methods to save water in the Health Industry and allied services.
  • Explain the importance of water conservation and methods to save water in other occupations.
  • Explain water sanitation and wastewater treatment methods and the difference with water reuse and recycling.

WHY TO CONSERVE WATER?

Human beings cannot survive more than 3 days without any source of water. Neither can other animals or plants. Water is life. Water is needed to move, eat, reproduce, work and think, in other words, to survive and to live.

Water resources are challenged in our world today due to pollution and overuse of the local resources. There are also fights for water between different users: farmers, people in cities and industries. There also rivers that cross frontiers, and thus there some problems in the sharing and use of the water between different countries. We are using much more water than what is really needed and available in many locations around the world.

This is due sometimes because of lack of water, but more often it is due to a bad management of the water resources available, bad or non existent urban planning and bad or non existent population planning.

We are also wasting our water resources when we are discharging our wastes and sewage into it, making the receiving waters unsuitable for life and in many cases even unsuitable for industrial or agricultural use.

These are the main reasons to preserve our water resources. There are many ways to do so. Water conservation needs to be addressed through the three environmental R’s:

Reduce

Reuse

Recycle

 

1. Reduce water use and water losses. This is also called water saving or minimization. Cleaner Production is a term used to describe all the actions taken to minimize the use of resources, water, energy or materials, that are used in our daily life (at home) and in our productive activities, such as industries, crops, health industries, office work (yes, water is also used, even minimally), etc.

Water reduction is the first step in water conservation as it is the most important factor in using water more efficiently. We reduce our water use at home when we use “water savers” in the shower. In gardening we save water when we use drip irrigation, instead of surface watering.

2. Reuse: Once water use has been reduced, we can study how we can use water that has already been used once. This is done normally with water that is not heavily contaminated with wastes. We can reuse shower water, but not water used to flush the toilets.

We are reusing water at home when we are using our grey water (from washing) to water the garden. Some industries can reuse water so effectively that they don’t produce any waste water. There are nowadays very efficient technologies to that effect.

3. Recycle. This is the third step, and generally it includes some type or technology the clean the water and use these recovered water. In rural houses, water from flushing the toilets can be cleaned with several simple and affordable technologies. This water can then be used to water trees. In Israel, in very dry areas with great shortage of water, sewage water is cleaned and disinfected so well, that it is being used to supply part of the drinking water. It is an expensive technology, but it can be done if there is no another solution to provide water to the population.

Maintaining Water Quality

Water quality is affected by the type and amount of impurities: 

  • Physical contamination are particles in the water, like silt due to erosion

  • Chemical impurities are substances dissolved in the water, like salt, fertilizers, oils, pesticides and other chemical residues

  • Biological impurities are living organisms such as algae and some micro-organisms. Bacteriological contamination is biological and it is extremely important to human and animal health.

Rain or creek water is unlikely to have serious physical or chemical impurities, like high levels of fertilizers, pesticides or oils, but may develop algal problems, particularly if exposed to light and if nutrient levels (normally due to chemical contamination with fertilizers in the creek basin) are high. Bacterial impurities may develop if this water is stored improperly or contaminated with grazing animal’s droppings and urine.

Bore or spring water hardly ever has physical or algal impurities, but may contain salts (causing hardness). Bore water may also contain iron, and in agricultural areas can have nutrients and pesticides. Bore water near industrial areas or cities may have chemical contaminants like oils and its residues and other chemical contaminants that will depend on the industries nearby.

River or channel water is likely to have biological impurities (eg. algae) as a result of fertilizer contamination and may have chemical and physical contamination, depending on the source. If the river comes from a contaminated water basin (the geographical area where rain water falls and gathers in a sole river), water may contain chemicals. This may happen when there are industries or mining activities upstream.

Dam and irrigation water generally contains few chemical or biological impurities if properly managed, but may have sediment or other physical impurities and may develop medium levels of bacteria and nutrients, particularly if animals are allowed to foul the water. If the water is rich in nutrients due to agricultural runoff, then algal blooms are likely to develop (eutrophication).

The quality of water may be found by testing a sample. This is normally carried out by such organisations as:

  • Environmental laboratories, university laboratories or university scientific services

  • Companies that sell equipment for the treatment of water

  • Local organisations such as dairy factories and water treatment trusts

  • Departments of Agriculture, Primary Industries or similar bodies

  • Departments of Mines or similar bodies

  • Departments of Health

  • Water supply authorities

Before collecting water for testing you should contact the testing organisation you have selected for advice on how the sample should be gathered.

Salinity
A major concern with water quality is the level of salinity. Salinity in irrigation areas in many dry land countries, including large tracts of inland Australia, Southern Europe, and tropical soils in Asia and Africa, has been the cause of severe environmental and economic degradation.

As salinity levels rise in an area, the productivity potential falls. Salt-affected soils suffer from surface crusting, reduced infiltration and restricted subsoil drainage. Crops and pastures exposed to saline irrigation water experience water stress, resulting in leaf scorching, leaf fall, and slow growth and reduced yields. In extreme cases, vegetation die back occurs and the soil is left exposed to erosion.

Chemical Contaminants
Chemical contamination may come from the use of synthetic fertilizers in crops, used to increase productivity and from the use of herbicides and pesticides also in crops. High levels of nitrates in the water can also be due to excessive manure application to crop soils, especially from pig manure which is very high in ammonia. Nitrates are especially dangerous if drank in tap water by babies younger that 4 months, as nitrates compete with oxygen in the blood, being bound to red blood cells and transported by blood more effectively than oxygen, thus provoking asphyxia symptoms. The condition is called “blue babies syndrome”, and can be lethal.  
Contamination with oils, pesticides and chemical residues occurs also in areas occupied by industries, petrol stations and other transport related areas and in any activity where there is machinery to be maintained or chemicals used, including pharmaceutical, toiletries, hospitals and laboratories. Textiles, printing, leather dyeing also use big amounts of chemicals (dyes and inks), and even water and drinks companies have a machinery maintenance section where they use oils and solvents.
All this contamination can be prevented with the right behaviour and adequate Pollution Prevention actions.  

Other types of contamination are metals due to natural causes (high levels in the soil) or due to mining activities, biological contamination (algae, bacteria, viruses) caused by human or animal contamination of water, or by eutrophication due to excessive fertilizers in the soils in the water basin.

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Martin Powdrill

25 years working in Telecommunications, IT, Organisational Development, and Energy Conservation & Efficiency, prior to setting up his own Permaculture consulting business. Martin has a Bsc (Hons) Applied Science (Resources Option), MSc Computer Studies, P

John Mason (Horticulturist)

Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant.
Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK.
He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world.





Tutors

Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Maria Schmitz Fontes

PhD (Marine Science), MSc (Environmental Engineering), BA Hons (Pharmaceutical Sciences and Biochemistry)

Maria has extensive experience in Environmental Science working in the private and public sectors. She has 6 years of experience teaching graduate and post-graduate students subjects as Marine Pollution, Microbial Ecology, Geochemistry, Oceanography, Methods in Aquatic Science and Benthic Ecology. She has published over 20 scientific articles and book chapters. She has also coordinated an innovative project in bioenergy production using simple-cheap methods to isolate microbes in laboratory. She has collaborated with scientists of Climate Change Cluster Group from University of Technology Sydney and has current interests in areas such as: sustainability and clean energy.

Gareth Pearce

B.Sc.(Hons), B.V.Sc., M.A., M.Vet.S,. PhD, Grad. Cert. Ed.(HE), Post-Grad.Cert. Aq.Vet.Sc., Post-Grad. Cert. WLBio&Cons., Dipl. ECPHM, MRCVS.
Gareth has over 25 years of experience in teaching and research in agriculture, veterinary medicine, wildlife ecology and conservation in a variety of colleges and universities in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. He qualified as a veterinary surgeon at the Universities of Melbourne and Bristol, having previously graduated in Agricultural Science and gained a PhD in Livestock Behaviour and Production. He also has post-graduate qualifications in Education, Wildlife Conservation Medicine, Aquatic Veterinary Studies and Wildlife Biology & Conservation.

Megan Cox

Megan has completed a Bachelor of Science (Environmental Conservation) with Honours from Writtle University College, as well as a Master of Science Degree in Countryside Management from Manchester Metropolitan University.

Her experience includes working as a Botanist, Ecologist, Head Gardener, Market Gardener and a Farming and Conservation Officer.

She has worked in various roles in Horticulture, Agriculture and Ecology since 2005. Megan has worked for the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Centre for Environment and Rural Affairs among other organisations in the UK, as well as in Australia and Cambodia.

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