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Water Wise initiative: a competition between campuses

The search for Canada’s most innovative approach to reducing campus water-use footprint in post-secondary schools across the country is back for its third year running.

“Most Water-wise School Competition”, an annual event held by the Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating (CIPH), challenges students to make real change to water use. It is an opportunity for students to develop an action plan to conserve water at their schools, using an interdisciplinary knowledge of water conservation.

“This competition is a theoretical exercise designed to give students a real world problem to examine and respond [to],” says Matt Wiesenfeld, program manager of CIPH, adding, “It encourages the students to get their minds out of the classroom [and] to think about how they can really make a difference.”

The participants receive feedback from industry experts about the feasibility of their proposals, but it is not to say that they are expected to necessarily execute them, clarifies Wiesenfeld, explaining that it will involve a significant amount of additional practical and, in some cases, political effort; however, CIPH are hopeful that one of the teams will be able to actually go to that next level of implementation in the near future. “Besides encouraging students to make meaningful environmental changes, the Water-wise Competition was also initiated to introduce students to the plumbing and heating industry,” added Joe Roma, select PR for CIPH. He hopes this competition will attract students to CIPH, an industry that offers a multitude of career options and great income potential.

According to the company’s press release and a recent national Leger Survey, 75% of Canadians make only modest or no efforts to conserve water. The survey, which was conducted for the CIPH, looked at several significant opinions about water use. Ralph Suppa, President and General Manager at CIPH, notes that “[w]hile a significant number of Canadians seem to be making an effort to conserve our water resources, it’s clear there is much more to be done to increase the awareness and importance of this issue.”

Water-wise is one of the many initiatives of CIPH, a company which is committed to helping Canadians execute smart decisions about water use and conservation. The thrust of the program is to motivate as many forward-thinking students as possible to develop an action plan to bring real change to the way the school community use and think about their water habits.  According to the release, this two-month challenge, irrespective of scholarly disciplines, allows students to develop and present through online submissions a viable plan to reduce the water-use footprint at their school in an economical, manageable, and user-friendly manner. The viable plan requires a practical, detailed, and technical approach, a creative manner to execute (through implementation and/or marketing), as well as a thought towards balanced financial implications (initial costs and potential savings).

The challenge runs twice, from October 15- December 15, 2015 and from January 1-February 28, 2016. However, participants can execute the plan only once, but with the option to run it at either time of their preference.
Besides contributing towards water conservation, the programs also provides benefits to students at the individual level.

For one, the students will work with and learn from CIPH Mentors through the association’s Young Executive Society. Upon delivery of the presentation, the first 100 students will enjoy participation incentives, including $50 Visa gift cards, and will be a part of all promotional outreach done through CIPH. Further, the winning team for first-place will bag a prize of $3,000 and runners up will receive $1,500.

The winners for the most water-wise action plan for 2015-2016 academic year will be announced on March 11, 2016, the World Plumbing Day.

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