A Timaru school girl’s investigation into rainwater harvesting has won her the Environment Canterbury Wrybill Trophy for 2011. The trophy, as judged by Lincoln University Professor Jon Hickford, goes to the top Canterbury science and technology fair project each year.
The award was made at today’s Environment Canterbury council meeting, with presentations from the four finalists to commissioners and staff.
Bronte Davenport, 14, of Craighead Diocesan School, got interested in the topic of rainwater harvesting from reading a magazine which featured the green/living roof idea in a Melbourne house. She surveyed 30 people in Timaru to see if any had a rainwater tank in their back yards – none did, although 25 of them were interested.
Judge Jon Hickford noted the value of having an on-site water supply during the post earthquake weeks in his hometown of Lyttelton, where a spring on his property supplied 200 households. Bronte pointed out the large amount of water which is used to flush toilets and water gardens by householders. A rainwater tank on-site could dramatically reduce water consumption for these non-drinking uses.
Bronte had won the Wrybill award three years earlier with a walking school bus project. Environment Canterbury chair of commissioners Dame Margaret Bazley commended all the finalists for their hard work and dedication. “It is people like you who are making a difference and will continue to do so in the future,” she said.
Also presenting to the council were:
Johan Esterhuizen, year 7, of Christchurch and home-schooled, who made a dry cell hydrogen generator to improve a car’s fuel efficiency.Andrew Tiffen, year 10,Ashburton College, with an automatic re-setting rat trap which could also catch stoats and required minimal maintenance once placed in the wild. Blair Smith, year 8, St Joseph’s, Timaru, who worked out a cheaper alternative to gaffer tape for rugby players keen to stop their laces getting loose or hooked. Blair’s elastic bands lasted for a full playing season and were much cheaper than plastic tape, with no litter left behind.