With the end of the first term, we are happy to report that we’re making good progress, despite various challenges.

With the drought still persisting, we are especially pleased to have now saved 36 million litres of water with the help of our sponsors, partners and partaking schools. That’s a significant number, resulting in savings of R2.5 million, which the schools can put to better use. Additionally, we’ve ramped up our daily savings to an average of 450,000 litres, resulting in a saving of R45,000 per day! Since only 30% of installed schools have had the full maintenance done, significant further savings are expected as we proceed to service the remainder of the schools. In total, we have 209 schools equipped with the Dropula (up 75 from last month). That said, going is getting a bit tougher with the festive season, and some challenging installation sites still remain. On the upside, we’re glad to announce that the project has expanded to more schools within Stellenbosch, and our reach now also includes the Drakenstein municipality.

A source of great excitement is the upcoming behavioural intervention, which is due to start when the schools commence. Some of the schools will be receiving targeted information, such as daily consumption, average hourly consumption, minimum nightly flow, and related costs via email and Whatsapp. In addition, some schools will be taking part in an anonymised competition. Other schools will be in the control group, and will not (yet) receive the detailed information. This behavioural intervention is done in collaboration with Prof Martine Visser and her team at UCT, the Western Cape Department of the Premier, and my team and I at Stellenbosch University. This study is extremely important to understand the behavioural impact of information for future investments, but also to understand which behavioural interventions have the biggest impact. As the number of equipped schools increases, more schools will be added to the study. We ask for your patience while we run this phase – we’ll provide the same information to all the schools as soon as the study is complete. We will, of course, continue to notify all the schools in the event of excessive leakages or bursts.

Finally, just a quick congratulations to Laerskool Stellenbosch. They were our first school to use the Dropula, and had to endure a lot from us while we developed the solution. By the end of the first term, after a lot of effort and maintenance on their side, they’d managed to get their consumption to only 22% of what it was 9 months ago.

Enjoy the festive season, and keep on saving.