Held annually on 22nd March, World Water Day is a day designated by the United Nations to celebrate the importance of water sustainability. This year, a group of us from the NTU Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Club had the opportunity to be a part of Singapore World Water Day, leading students from Whitley Secondary in the NYC Water Bucket Challenge.
Let’s go Whitley Sec!
An Unforgettable Trip
If you were to trace back the roots of our passion for water conservation, it’d lead back to our time in Laos last July, where we were part of the Youth Expedition Project (YEP). In the 2 weeks we’d spent there, we built a water distribution network providing clean water to villagers who didn’t have access to clean water previously.
This once-in-a-lifetime experience also gave us a chance to step into the world of the Laotian villagers, gaining first-hand exposure to the culture and ways of the people. Needless to say, those 14 days left an indelible mark on our lives.
Relaying pails of water from the waterway to the start point
Moved to Action
However, we didn’t want our experience at Laos to be just that: an experience; we had to do something with all that we’d learn through the trip.
Inspired by our time in Laos, we wanted to give back to our local community. With that, we organised our very own Water Conservation Exhibition in NTU in collaboration with PUB, encouraging our fellow students to conserve water. We also jumped at the chance to be a part of Singapore World Water Day, and the opportunity to lead a group of 61 students from Whitley Secondary in the Water Bucket Challenge.
Debrief by Paul from NTU on the importance of water conservation in Singapore
A Learning Journey
Held at Punggol Waterway, the students carried buckets full of water over a distance of 600 meters. Easier said than done, we assure you. After filling up more than 40 buckets at the starting point, our bubbly students began their journey with a pep in their step, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
After the first few steps, we could tell the students started to realise, one by one, that they were in for more than they’d originally bargained for.
Walking 600 meters? Easy.
Walking 600 meters carrying a bucket full of water? Not so much.
Leading the way to the end point with bright and cheerful smiles!
What we didn’t expect was how the unforeseen challenge brought out the best of the students as they started working together, and spurred each other forward. It was all a part of the learning journey.
Taking part in the activity with them, we could tell the students were learning the value of water. When they realised how much effort went into transporting the water, the students were serious in making sure not a single drop of water was spilled at any point of their arduous 600-meter journey.
Sharing the same path with Cycle for Water
It goes without saying, but the exercise sure gave the students a glimpse into the lives of those in other countries who live without access to clean water, opening their eyes to realise how privileged we are to have the access to cheap and abundant clean water.
Though a short event, it was definitely a fulfilling one knowing that we’d impart the lessons we’d learn from our trip to the next generation. The time we spent with the students only added fuel to the fire burning in our hearts to give back to the community.
About the Authors: The article was written by Eatsham Ahsan and Candy Kok, co-leaders of the YEP NTU CEE Club Project Aquam Vitae 2016.