Join SAICE for an experience that you will never forget!
Very few interventions or career days have the advantage of practically illustrating what a career is all about. At the finals of AQUALIBRIUM, the SAICE Schools Water Competition 2016, to be held at the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Newtown, Johannesburg on Friday 29 July 2016, you will experience exactly that. This is an adventure that everybody remembers once they had been there to experience the excitement first-hand!
This competition affords learners the opportunity of planning, designing, constructing and operating a water distribution network exactly the way civil engineering practitioners in local authorities and metros would do. They encounter all the same challenges that occur in real-life situations!
Regional winners will come from as far as Bloemfontein, East London, Harrismith, Kimberley, Malmesbury, Pietermaritzburg, and Richards Bay, to combat the teams from Johannesburg and Pretoria, as well as the national winning team from Swaziland! Many of the teams are flown to Johannesburg and accommodated in a good hotel ? an experience that these young people, and some of the educators will never forget! For most, this is a first encounter with the ‘big city’. Without the sponsorships of Rand Water, AECOM, the Water Research Commission, Mhlatuze Water, Bosch Stemele, and DPI Plastics, this would not have been possible.
The 2016 finalists’ team from the Winnie Mandela Secondary School in Ivory Park, Midrand, are all (three) currently studying civil engineering at the University of Pretoria! How does one put a value to a competition that has led to so many learners, especially from rural areas and townships, studying civil engineering and which, at the same time, make a difference to the priority scarce skills situation and the lives of many people!
Water distribution systems are important to supply safe and clean drinking water to people. The teams are tasked to design a model water distribution network to distribute three litres of water equally between three points on the grid using two different diameter pipes and connection pieces. They are then judged on how well they execute the task – working on a penalty points system. The teams have a period of about an hour in which to plan, design, build and operate their network.
This competition exposes learners to the practical application of processes that influence their daily lives, which is how water gets to their homes. They are made aware of the intricacies involved in the design of water distribution networks and the actual water delivery to households.
The grid used for the water distribution network is on a background that depicts the entire water cycle with all the major impacts affecting this scarce resouce. This grid intrigues learners, as well as educators, who find it a very useful educational tool.
The competition creates awareness regarding the issues surrounding water in South Africa. It spreads the message that water is a precious commodity, which should be recycled, re-used and respected, while the use of water should be reduced. Through this annual competition SAICE takes the responsibility of spreading the news that water should be used wisely, that infrastructure should be maintained and that new infrastructure should be developed to provide potable water to all in South Africa.
In two consecutive years (2012/13 and 2013/14) the AQUALIBRIUM initiative had the honour of being chosen as one of four finalists in the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) Awards, the oldest and most prestigious in South Africa, in the category where an individual or team is recognised for their outstanding contribution to science, engineering, technology and innovation (SETI) through science communication and through creating science awareness.
AQUALIBRIUM strengthens government’s initiatives aimed at encouraging learners to take Mathematics and Science at school and to follow a career as a science or civil engineering practitioner. Only in this way can we assure that the quality of life of all South Africans will be better in future!
Issued by the South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE)
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