Very few interventions or career days have the advantage of practically illustrating what a career is all about.

The finals of Aqualibrium, the exciting SAICE-AECOM Schools Water Competition 2015, which will be held at the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Newtown, Johannesburg on Friday 31 July 2015, do exactly that.

Through the competition learners design, construct and operate a water distribution network exactly the way civil engineering practitioners in local authorities and metropolitans would do.  They encounter all the same challenges/problems that occur in real life situations.

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 and Richards Bay to battle the local winners for top honours.

The competition

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.