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Hlengiwe Cele  

SAICE-DFC Water for ‘Centenary Schools Competition’ 2009

The ’Centenary Schools Competition’ 2009 was held at the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Newtown, Johannesburg on 24 July. This annual event was sponsored by Dynamic Fluid Control, popularly known as DFC Water (Pty.) Ltd and the Water Research Commission (WRC). Hosting the event was the South African Institute for Civil Engineering(SAICE).  Through such initiatives the WRC continues to support the youth in taking water –related careers and build capacity within the sector .Participating in the competition were the winners from the regional competitions. Professor Kobus van Zyl of the University of Cape Town (previously of the University of Johannesburg) is the mastermind behind this mind-shaking competition.

The competition aims at creating awareness on water usage in South Africa, since communities in the country still lack water and often find themselves walking long distances to obtain it from unsafe resources. Learners doing Maths and Science in Grade 11 participate and get the opportunity of being exposed to Water Civil Engineering as a career choice. This initiative exposes learners to the practical application of the processes of water distribution through the pipe network. The initial part of the competition is the explanation of the water cycle, water resources, municipal water operations, and water conservation.

The competitors work on a grid indicating the water cycle, which has been specially designed to meet the competition’s needs. Each team is given a task to design a model of a water distribution network supplying water from the resource to three reservoirs. Three litres of water must be equally distributed between all three points on the grid using different diameter pipes and connection pieces. "The judgement is  on how well they execute the task using the penalty points system after giving  competitors are  three trials in a period of one hour" says Kobus .

The Comedian, Professor Zweitstein (aka Kim Mather, Civil Engineering technician from Pietermaritzburg), presented a fun-filled ‘Fun Physics’ lecture as part of edutainment for participants. His lecture noted the basic principles of Civil Engineering including water usage.

According to the  Deputy Minister, Rejoice Thilozwi Mabudafhasi,  the event   encouraged the competitors to seriously consider Engineering as a career choice, since the country suffers from a chronic shortage of skills .She also thanked the organisers and sponsors for working towards inspiring learners to take part in water-related initiatives.

The 2009 champions is the Grantleigh High School from Richards Bay with 115 penalty points. Second was the team from Hoërskool Duineveld in Upington with 200 penalty points and in the third position Maritzburg College in Pietermaritzburg with 220 penalty points.

Compiled by :Hlengiwe Cele

Knowledge Dissemination Officer



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