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Water quality and sustainability lessons

Planting riparian buffers of native plants at a South Auckland waterway not only improves the local water quality, but also provides an opportunity for school students to learn about sustainability.

Through Citycare’s sponsorship of the Student Volunteer Army Schools Programme, teams from Citycare Water and 2 in a Ute recently supported a volunteering event with students from Mission Heights Junior College in Manukau.

The first stop at Barry Curtis Park in Flat Bush was an opportunity for the students to learn how stormwater networks operate, Citycare Water Auckland Divisional Manager Sophie Guest says.

They saw how a number of infrastructure and natural elements work in harmony to keep stormwater clean and flowing and how vegetation acts as a natural barrier – preventing debris and contaminants from entering the waterways, she adds.

Stormwater operations staff and water quality professionals worked alongside the students, explaining about how stormwater systems impact on water quality down the line – in our rivers, waterways and beaches.

“The students took part in a demonstration of water quality sampling and testing at the Neales Road pond in East Tamaki. They then measured the site to mark planting spots, and planted vegetation following the water line,” Sophie says.

“It was a great opportunity to connect with our South Auckland community and help the students get a better understanding of the water cycle, sustainability and how the impact of littering and pollution affects water quality.

“The students were very engaged, and our staff thoroughly enjoyed sharing their expertise and passion for water – we had a fabulous day that also benefits the community and the natural environment in the area,” Sophie says.

“A shout-out to all the students for their efforts and thanks to our partner Hynds for gifting shovels for the planting and for the students to keep.”

Mission Heights teacher Catherine Hunter said the students were buzzing when they got back to school, and the day really tied in with their in-class learning.

Justin Aide, of the Small Waters Team, says the visual parts of his water sampling and quality testing demonstration sparked the most interest, particularly when the water sample changed colour as it came into contact with elements such as chlorine and ammonia.

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