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Primary education programme

Waterline primary school education programme

A ‘source to sea’ interactive, hands-on, inquiry-based learning programme for Year 5 and 6 students.

Understand why we need to conserve water, and how our wastewater and stormwater systems work. The emphasis is on valuing water as a precious resource.

Teachers can choose from one of three cycles – Water Supply, Wastewater, Stormwater.

Our Waterline education facilitates lessons and provides all workbooks and resources needed. The programme aligns with the NZ curriculum and all lesson plans, curriculum links, student and teacher workbooks are all provided along with giveaways and tools to help save water.

For more information, or to book a Primary education programme, please contact our Waterline Education Team.

Waterline cycle options

Students are introduced to the precious nature of water. We explore the water cycle and how Tauranga’s drinking water is treated and delivered to our community. Students will discover practical ways to save water at home, including practicing how to fix a leaking tap.

Overlying concepts

  • Fresh water is a precious taonga: valuable and important
  • Drinking water is sourced from the environment (in Tauranga this is from the Tautau, Waiorohi and Waiari streams)
  • Drinking water must be treated and cleaned before it is safe to drink
  • Kaitiakitanga: we can all care for, and conserve, our precious drinking water
  • Everyone can help to save water 

Explore how Tauranga City Council collects and treats wastewater from our homes, schools and industry. Students explore the world of microbes and their ability to perform cleaning tasks for us so treated wastewater can safely be returned to the ocean. They will also look at historical and alternative wastewater treatment processes.

Overlying concepts

  • Wastewater is the used water from buildings, schools and homes
  • When we use water to wash our hands, do the dishes, have a shower, do the laundry or go to the toilet, we produce wastewater
  • Our wastewater network starts in your home: wastewater travels along pipes on its journey to the wastewater treatment plant
  • Wastewater treatment is a complex process involving multiple steps. Treated wastewater is very clean and can be discharged into the environment safely
  • Wastewater is different from stormwater and goes into a separate network. Stormwater is not treated
  • Wastewater networks are important to prevent disease, protect the environment and public health
  • Only the three ‘P’s – poo, pee and (toilet) paper should go into the wastewater network. Wipes, nappies, sanitary items, clothing, cotton buds, tissues or other objects should go into the rubbish bin
  • The more drinking water we use, the more wastewater we create
  • The more wastewater we process, the more energy and power is needed to clean the water. Using less water saves water, money and energy required to treat the wastewater, which helps our environment.

Learn about Tauranga’s stormwater network and how to protect it. Students are introduced to a GIS system where they learn how to look up water infrastructure and can track the flow of stormwater throughout our city.

Overlying concepts

  • Stormwater is rainwater that does not soak into the ground and flows across the landscape
  • Stormwater can carry pollutants and cause flooding
  • We can all help to prevent stormwater pollution; our actions have an impact on stormwater, waterways and the harbour.

Frequently asked questions for teachers

  • Audio and Visual capability for presentations and videos, such as TV, projector, Apple TV or Chromecast. If your school does not have this capability, alternative arrangements can be made
  • Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Some lessons might need access to a tap/sink
  • Pen, ruler, calculator
  • Students will be given a booklet to complete their work in
  • Students may need to access the internet for research purposes.
  • Each cycle is made up of four lessons. We allow an hour per lesson, though we can adapt the lessons to suit your classroom timetable. Some lessons are facilitated by you (the classroom teacher), in which case you might like to include your own resources or adapt as necessary
  • Bespoke learning experiences will usually also run for an hour.
  • Teachers need to attend a short briefing session before the classroom lessons take place. You will be given a teacher handbook and links to any resources needed, such as a PowerPoint presentation or video links
  • During the Waterline Educator facilitated lessons, you will need to remain in the classroom and help manage the students
  • Due to the inquiry-based nature of the units, teachers need to encourage students to participate in guided discussions
  • You will also need to circulate the teaching instructions to students. They can progress through the lessons as quickly as they like.

We understand teaching time is limited so we can work with you to meet specific learning goals. We can extract different learning units from our programme and provide a range of resources to inspire students and encourage behavioural change regarding water use.

Please contact our Waterline Education Team to discuss your needs.


How do we treat your drinking water (3.9mb pdf) How do we treat your wastewater (4.2mb pdf) 
Water - how we use it (393kb pdf)  The water journey - coming soon!
Truth about wet wipes (3.8mb pdf) Save our pipes from wipes (194kb pdf) 
Water Watchers - Water use at home (76kb pdf)

Check out this cool time lapse video of the construction of our new Waiari Water Treatment Plant.

Watch the video More information on the Waiari Water Treatment Plant

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