Stevenage School crowned ‘Challenge Water’ champions

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students from Barnwell school

A team of key stage 3 students from Barnwell school in Stevenage were crowned the 2018 ‘Challenge: Water’ champions. The successful team went head to head with Simon Balle All Through School from Hertford, Loreto College from St Albans and Kings Langley School from Kings Langley.

‘Challenge: Water’ is a joint initiative with WaterAid and Affinity Water that pits teams against each other to develop real solutions to address global water resource issues, starting with their own community.

Team ‘Without a Drought’ from Barnwell School scooped a trophy and £500 for their school after their project resulted in massive water savings amongst other students. During research, the team found that 38% of students were spending 16 minutes or more in the shower. They designed a new water saving shower that decreases the pressure before finally switching off after five minutes of use. The shower warns the user time is running out via a traffic light warning system.

For their campaign, they put water saving messages on digital screens around their school, developed a video which was screened in tutor time and had a shower timer giveaway. Around 188 students pledged to take shorter showers, which they displayed outside the hall.

They also made a second video for YouTube on saving water. Their work resulted in 45% students saying they now spend less time in the shower, which they calculated as being nearly 300 litres of water saved per student per week.

Stevenage MP, Stephen McPartland visited Barnwell School to hear about their innovative idea, he commented: “I was delighted to listen to the practice presentation of the students and back them in the competition. They had put a huge amount of effort into the project with their teacher Linda Butterfield, and it really showed. I know they are over the moon about winning the trophy and £500 for their school and I am really proud of them.”

Each school pitched their ideas to a panel of judges from across the water industry and the Deputy Mayor of Welwyn and Hatfield, Councillor Barbara Fitzsimon presented the teams with their awards.

‘Challenge: Water’ launched three years ago to encourage young people to come up with pioneering solutions to help people to save water. The challenge also connects schools with water experts in the key areas of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), is linked to the national curriculum and CREST accredited.

Along the way, the four teams learnt how local actions could have a global impact. During sessions, the children were encouraged to use games, debates, films and activities to understand better why water conservation is such a crucial issue in the UK and around the world.

Pauline Walsh, CEO of Affinity Water said “I am delighted with Affinity Water’s involvement with Challenge: Water, a real life Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) initiative. The students involved have gained valuable industry experience, enhanced their employability skills and used their creativity to develop innovative solutions to save water. It is important to inspire young people to consider the range of opportunities that the water industry can offer.”

If your school would like to take part in 2018-2019, please email