The South African Institution Of Civil Engineering
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Aqualibrium SAICE-AECOM Water Competition 2015

Date: Friday 31 July 2015

Time: 09:30 to 14:00

Venue: Sci-Bono Discovery Centre
Mirriam Makeba Street

AQUALIBRIUM, the SAICE-AECOM Schools Water Competition 2015

The finals of AQUALIBRIUM, the exciting SAICE-AECOM Schools Water Competition 2015 will be held at the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Newtown, Johannesburg on Friday 31 July 2015. It is always the first time that the competition will go international with both Swaziland and Zimbabwe participating! This worthwhile competition never fails to excite the teams, spectators and everybody involved!

This year the winners of the regional competitions will come to Johannesburg from as far as Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Dendron, East London, Harrismith, Kimberley, Pietermaritzburg and Port Elizabeth, to battle the local winners for top honours. Many of the teams are flown to Johannesburg and accommodated in a good hotel - an experience that these Mafikeng young people and some of the educators will never forget! For most, this is a first experience of the ‘big city’. Without the naming-rights sponsorship of AECOM, and other sponsors such as Bosch Stemele, Marley and DPI Plastics, this event would of course, not be possible.

The three winners of 2014 are all currently studying civil engineering at the University of Stellenbosch.. Also as a direct result of this competition three students from Phomolong Secondary School in Tembisa have studied and are still studying civil engineering. These young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are determined to go MAD, i.e. Make A Difference in their communities. We just have to continue with these kinds of projects in order to make a difference to the priority scarce skills situation and the lives of many people!

In 2003 both the South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) and Rand Water celebrated their centenaries and as part of this they launched this competition for high school learners. The competition was devised by Professor Kobus van Zyl and students from the University of Johannesburg. Since then new streamlined equipment that curbs water loss came into being. Professor Van Zyl uses this initiative teaching hydraulics to his third year students at UCT.
Water distribution networks
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 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.

As part of the competition the water cycle is explained to the learners. Issues such as why we have to pay for water, explaining the building of dams, distribution of water through water boards to municipalities and then to users, as well as the conservation of our water resources are discussed.

The grid used for the water distribution network is on a background that depicts the entire water cycle. It intrigues learners, as well as educators, who find it a very helpful educational tool.

The competition creates awareness regarding the issues surrounding water in South Africa. It spreads the message that water is a precious commodity the use of which should be reduced, then recycled, re-used and respected. Through this competition SAICE and AECOM, the current naming-rights sponsor, took the responsibility of spreading the news that water should be used wisely, that infrastructure should be maintained and that new infrastructure should be created 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)- BHP Billiton 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.

This competition 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 professional. 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)
For more information please contact
Marie Ashpole
Tel: 011 805 5947
Fax: 011 805 5971
Cell: 082 870 9229

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