High school

Our high school excursions give students a behind the scenes look at how a water filtration or wastewater treatment plant works.

Students will see real life applications of content learnt in the classroom.

All our programs complement the NSW syllabus. Our HSC programs are linked to exam style questions.

These programs are free of charge to schools within the greater Sydney, Illawarra and Blue Mountains regions.

People looking down into a treatment pond

Students get to see our treatment processes first hand at Rouse Hill Water Recycling Plant.

9.4.5 Chemical Monitoring and Management

Chemistry plays an important role in monitoring and managing our water filtration and wastewater recycling plants. An excursion to our sites will give students an opportunity to see the practical application of chemistry in an industrial setting.
 

Excursion information

Students looking at text tubes and containers.

Students will get to test water quality during this excursion. 

Sites visited This is a dual site excursion. You’ll visit both Orchard Hills Water Filtration Plant and St Marys Water Recycling Education Centre.

You’ll see:
  • drinking water treatment
  • advanced water recycling (membrane technology).
Excursion length Five hours, including a short lunch break and travel between the two sites.
Topic covered 9.4.5 Chemical Monitoring and Management
Content delivered Students will:
  • learn about the collection, storage, treatment and supply of drinking water in greater Sydney
  • investigate possible sources of contamination in a catchment
  • understand the physical and chemical processes involved in the treatment of mass water supplies
  • engage with video and kiosk animations to learn about reverse osmosis
  • complete HSC style questions to prepare them for their exams.
Hands on activities Students will:
  • perform basic water quality tests (pH, electrical conductivity, phosphate, nitrate, turbidity, hardness, temperature) to identify where their sample came from in the urban water cycle (ocean, pristine stream, farming site, tap or polluted mine site)
  • discuss the reliability and validity of the experiment and suggest improvements.
Request an excursion

Request an excursion online.

For more information, email us.

9.4 Caring for the Country

We use a range of physical, chemical and biological treatment processes to clean wastewater and make it fit for various purposes. Students will see simple separation techniques applied on an industrial scale and explore the impact of society on water resources.

They will also learn about the importance of maintaining river environmental flows (e-flows) and how recycled water is used to support this.

Excursion information

Sites visited Penrith Water Recycling Plant
You’ll see:
  • wastewater treatment (primary, secondary and tertiary treatment)
  • advanced water recycling (membrane technology) discharge point.
Excursion length Four hours, including a short lunch break.
Topic covered 9.4 Caring for the Country

Teachers are welcome to bring their Year 11 students on this excursion, but we’ll deliver content aimed at Year 12 students.
Content delivered Students will:
  • learn about the hydrologic cycle and sources of water for societal use
  • investigate how readily flushable wipes, tissues, toilet paper and facial wipes break down
  • see the wastewater treatment processes used to clean wastewater (sewage) at a water recycling plant
  • understand the role of advanced wastewater separation technologies and their use in an environmental flow replacement strategy.
Hands on activities Students will:
  • investigate the stages and processes of water and waste separation in a lab-style experiment
  • use a combination of materials to separate a mock wastewater sample with the aim of getting the sample as 'clean' as possible
  • be encouraged to identify the separation techniques they use and construct a flow chart of their results.
Request an excursion

Request an excursion online.

For more information, email us.

9.4 The Search for Better Health

We protect public health by providing clean, safe drinking water. We have many safeguards to identify potential risks and how we can prevent them.

Excursion information

Sites visited Orchard Hills Water Filtration Plant

You’ll see:
  • drinking water treatment.
Length Four hours, including a short lunch break.
Topic covered 9.4 The Search for Better Health
Content delivered Students will:
  • learn about the system used to supply, treat and monitor water in greater Sydney, the Illawarra and the Blue Mountains
  • learn about the way we work with partners to protect public health
  • see the process used to treat drinking water, making it clean and safe
  • investigate advanced water filtration technologies, such as reverse osmosis used to purify seawater as an alternate source of safe drinking water.
Hands on activities Students will:
  • investigate different types of pathogens using light microscopes
  • draw a scientific diagram of a water borne pathogen and estimate the size
  • undertake a mock E.coli count and evaluate the source environment.
Request an excursion Request an excursion online.

For more information, email us.

There are two options for Chemistry Depth Studies:

  • Acids, bases and equilibrium
  • Polymers 

Acids, bases & equilibrium

Linked to Module 5: Equilibrium and acid reactions & Module 6: Acid/Base reactions

Students will see how we monitor and manage the pH of raw water to optimise its buffering capacity and promote flocculation at a drinking water filtration plant.
 

Large open concrete tanks holding water.

We use dual media filter tanks at Orchard Hills Water Filtration Plant.

Excursion information

 Sites visited Orchard Hills Water Filtration Plant

You’ll see:
  • drinking water treatment
 Length Four hours, including a short lunch break.
 Topic covered Depth Study ideas based on drinking water filtration to protect public health. Linked to:
  • Module 5: Equilibrium and Acid Reactions - What factors affect equilibrium and how?
  • Module 6: Acid/Base Reactions - Describe the importance of buffers and prepare a buffer.
 Content delivered Students will:
  • learn about the importance of acid, base and equilibrium chemistry in the treatment and supply of safe drinking water
  • understand the chemistry of acids and bases in the industrial context
  • see how acidity in the water are continually monitored and why this is so essential 
  • investigate some of the factors that affect the equilibrium systems within the treatment process and how we can use this knowledge to make reliable predictions about how best to treat your drinking water
  • gather information that will form the basis of your depth study.
 Hands on activities

Students will:

  • investigate how changing variables affects the bicarbonate equilibrium, using a jar tester to flocculate a sample
  • perform basic water quality tests to assess the quality of raw water compared to tap water
  • construct equations and perform role plays to investigate Le Chatelier’s principle
  • discuss how the data collected throughout the day may be incorporated into a depth study.
 Request an excursion For more information, or to request a depth study excursion,  email us.

Polymers

Linked to Module 7: Organic Chemistry

Polymers are all around us, but they play a very important role in modern wastewater treatment.

Students will see how we use polymers to optimise wastewater treatment processes and ultimately protect the environment.
 

Students looking at pipes through a large window.

Students will discuss the reverse osmosis process at the St Marys Advanced Water Recycling Plant.

Excursion information

 Sites visited

Penrith Water Recycling Plant
You’ll see:

  • wastewater treatment (primary, secondary and tertiary treatment)
  • biosolids production
  • advanced water recycling (membrane technology) discharge point.
 Length Four hours, including a short lunch break.
 Topic covered Depth Study ideas based on water recycling and protecting the environment. Linked to:
  • Module 7: Organic chemistry - Polymers
 Content delivered Students will:
  • model and compare the structure, properties and uses of the addition polymers used in water recycling
  • conduct investigations and analyse information to further develop their understanding of how the properties of polymers relate to their use
  • Students will investigate the use of reverse osmosis polymer membranes in advanced water recycling
  • gather information that will form the basis of your depth study.
 Hands on activities

Students will:

  • model and compare the structure, properties and uses of cationic polyacrylamide
  • use a jar tester to flocculate a mock wastewater sample and determine the optimal conditions
  • create their own sludge sample and add polymer to simulate the thickening process used for making biosolids
  • discuss the future application of polymers and how the data collected throughout the day may be incorporated into a depth study.
     
 Request an excursion For more information, or to request a depth study excursion,  email us.

Water Management

Linked to Module 4: Human Impacts

Students will see how wastewater is managed to help protect the environment. They will see separation techniques applied on an industrial scale and explore the impact of human behaviour on water use. Students will see how treatment processes clean wastewater so it is fit for various purposes.

They will also learn about the importance of maintaining river environmental flows (e-flows) and how recycled water is used to support this.

Excursion information

Site visited

Penrith Water Recycling Plant

You’ll see:

  • wastewater treatment (primary, secondary and tertiary treatment)
  • advanced water recycling (membrane technology) discharge point.
Length Four hours, including a short lunch break.
Topic covered Depth study ideas based on the inquiry question: How can water be managed for use by humans and ecosystems?

Students:
  • investigate the treatment and potential reuse of different types of water, including but not limited to:
    • industrial wastewater
    • sewage
    • stormwater
  • describe ways in which human activity can influence the availability and quality of water both directly or indirectly.
Content delivered Students will:
  • learn about the management strategies to protect the environment
  • understand how water recycling processes work to clean wastewater
  • investigate how readily flushable wipes, tissues, toilet paper and facial wipes break down
  • understand the role of advanced wastewater separation technologies and their use in an environmental flow replacement strategy.
Hands on activities Students will:
  • investigate the stages and processes of water and waste separation
  • use an interactive water model and augmented reality sandbox to investigate water flows and human impacts on waterways
  • use interactive game to investigate membrane technology
  • use a combination of materials to separate a mock wastewater sample with the aim of getting the sample as 'clean' as possible
  • discuss how data collected throughout the day may be incorporated into a depth study.
Request an excursion

For more information, or to request a depth study excursion, email us.


Urban water cycle

Students examine the water cycle, water as a resource and separation techniques used for water management in Sydney.

They investigate the way we manage and monitor water quality to protect the environment and public health.

This excursion is a perfect match with Stage 4 Geography Water in the World. Why not cover both subjects in one day?
 

Students wearing protective glasses holding test tubes.

Students will get to test the pH of drinking water samples at Orchard Hills Water Filtration Plant.

Excursion information

Sites visited

There are three options for this program:

  1. Drinking water: Orchard Hills Water Filtration Plant.
  2. Wastewater:  Penrith Water Recycling Plant.
  3. Urban water cycle (Dual site - you'll visit both a drinking water filtration and a water recycling plant): Orchard Hills Water Filtration Plant and Penrith Water Recycling Plant..

Excursion length

  1. Drinking water:  Two hours
  2. Wastewater:  Two hours
  3. Urban water cycle: Five hours including travel between the two sites (half an hour) and time for your own off-site meal break (half an hour). 
Email us for some suggested lunch options 

Topics covered

ES4 Science understanding influences the development of practices in areas of human activity such as industry, agriculture and marine and terrestrial resource management.
Students:
a. identify that water is an important resource that cycles through the environment
b. explain the water cycle in terms of the physical processes involved
c. demonstrate how scientific knowledge of the water cycle has influenced the development of household, industrial and agricultural water management practices

Content delivered

Students will:

  • visit either a drinking water filtration plant, wastewater treatment plant or both
  • understand how we protect public health and the environment
  • investigate water quality monitoring
  • understand the processes involved in the treatment of drinking water (Orchard Hills site only)
  • understand the processes involved in the treatment of recycled water (Penrith site only)
  • investigate separation techniques used in water management
  • recognise the flow of water through the water cycle.
Hands on activities Drinking water 
  • perform basic water quality tests
  • see how the natural water cycle works
  • tour of a working industrial water filtration plant
Wastewater
  • interact with an augmented reality sandbox
  • interact with a working catchment model
  • create a process flow diagram
  • experiment with "flushable" wipes
  • tour of a working industrial water recycling plant.
Urban water cycle - dual site 
  • all of the above
Request an excursion Request an excursion online.
For more information, email us.

There are two options for excursions linked to the syllabus topic Water in the world.

  • Treatment plant excursions delivered by us.
  • Self-guide excursions program at a stormwater or heritage site owned by us and delivered by you.


Excursions delivered by us

We manage the flow of water through our urban landscape. Students examine water as a resource and the factors influencing water availability in Sydney.

They investigate the nature of access to water and assess its uses. Students discuss variations in people’s perceptions about the value of water and the need for sustainable water management for a future liveable city.

This excursion is a perfect match with Stage 4 Science - The Water Cycle. Why not cover both subjects in one day?

Excursion information

Sites visited

There are three options for this program:

  1. Drinking water: Orchard Hills Water Filtration Plant.
  2. Wastewater:  Penrith Water Recycling Plant.
  3. Urban water cycle (Dual site - you'll visit both a drinking water filtration and a water recycling plant): Orchard Hills Water Filtration Plant and Penrith Water Recycling Plant.
Excursion length
  1. Drinking water:  Two hours
  2. Wastewater:  Two hours
  3. Urban water cycle: Five hours including travel between the two sites (half an hour) and time for your own off-site meal break (half an hour).

Email us for some suggested lunch options

Topic covered Water in the World
  • Sydney's water resources.
  • The water cycle.
  • Water management.
  • The value of water.
  • Some content from Place and Liveability.
Content delivered Students will:
  • visit either a drinking water filtration plant, wastewater treatment plant or both
  • understand how we protect public health and the environment
  • investigate water quality monitoring
  • understand the processes involved in the treatment of drinking water (Orchard Hills site only)
  • understand the processes involved in the treatment of recycled water (Penrith site only)
  • investigate the ways we contribute to a liveable city
  • recognise the flow of water through the urban water cycle.
Hands on activities Drinking water

  • Perform basic water quality tests.
  • See how the natural water cycle works.
  • Tour of a working industrial water filtration plant.
Wastewater

  • Interact with an augmented reality sandbox.
  • Interact with a working catchment model.
  • Create a process flow diagram.
  • Experiment with "flushable" wipes.
  • Tour of a working industrial water recycling plant.
     
Urban water cycle - dual site 

  • all of the above 
Request an excursion Request an excursion online.

For more information, email us.


Self-guide excursions

These excursion programs are designed for teachers to deliver. The sites selected are all open to the public and managed by us.

The programs concentrate on the value of water in the urban environment and consist of observational field work, historical geography and use various geographic tools.

These programs will be updated as our projects are completed and new programs will be added to this list throughout the year.

Keep a look out for updates on this page.

Want to request this self-guide excursion pack?
The best way to request this new excursion is to email us.
Image of Alexandra Canal

Sydney Water and Alexandra Canal self-guide excursion resource for teachers.

Excursion information

Sites visited There are currently five options for this program:
  1. Alexandra Canal, Tempe
  2. Johnstons Creek, Annandale
  3. Powells Creek, Homebush
  4. Prospect Reservoir, Prospect
  5. Tank Stream, Sydney
For site locations see our map
Resources available

Each pack includes:

  • teacher program (linked to Syllabus) – between four and six lessons including a one to two-hour excursion
  • in class worksheet/s
  • PowerPoint presentation with notes providing questions (and answers) to get students thinking. Includes additional information about the site, links to other online resources, responsibilities of Sydney Water and definitions of water related terms
  • field worksheet.
Topics covered Water in the World - the value of water.
Content included Students will:
  • investigate waterway management in Sydney
  • recognise the changing value of water resources over time
  • understand how we protect public health and the environment.
Geographic enquiry skills, concepts and tools Students will:
  • collect primary and secondary data to evaluate changing values of water
  • recognise the interrelationships between humans and the environment by identifying changing interconnections and values
  • use fieldwork skills, mapping activities, spatial technologies and visual representations.
Request an excursion Email us to request these resources to run your excursion.

Science for Years 7-10

Our general science programs take students behind the scenes to see how we all interact in the urban water cycle.

Excursion information

Sites visited We offer general science excursions at a number of sites.

Drinking water treatment sites:
  • Orchard Hills Water Filtration Plant
Wastewater treatment sites:
  • Cronulla Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • North Head Wastewater Treatment Plant
Wastewater treatment and water recycling sites:
  • Rouse Hill Water Recycling Plant
  • Penrith Water Recycling Plant
  • Wollongong Water Recycling Plant
Excursion length One and a half hours.
Topic covered Age appropriate science content relating to the site being visited.
Content delivered Students will:
  • visit a drinking water treatment, wastewater treatment or water recycling plant
  • learn about the urban water cycle, and individuals' and Sydney Water's roles and responsibilities
  • learn how wastewater treatment helps protect the environment and public health
Request an excursion Request an excursion online.

For more information, email us.

Geography for Years 7-10

Our geography programs explore the link between human actions within the urban water cycle. Students will investigate how and why Sydney Water treats and recycles wastewater for a range of beneficial purposes.

Excursion information

Sites visited We offer general geography excursions at a number of sites.

Wastewater treatment sites:
  • Cronulla Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • North Head Wastewater Treatment Plant
Wastewater treatment and recycled water sites:
  • Rouse Hill Water Recycling Plant
  • Penrith Water Recycling Plant
  • Wollongong Water Recycling Plant
Excursion length One and a half hours.
Topic covered Age appropriate geography content relating to the site they’re visiting.
Content delivered Students will:
  • visit a wastewater treatment or a water recycling plant
  • learn about the natural and urban water cycle, and individuals' and Sydney Water's roles and responsibilities
  • learn how wastewater treatment helps protect the environment and public health
  • learn about how and why Sydney Water recycles water and biosolids.
Request an excursion You can request an excursion online.

For more information, email us.

High school resources

We have a range of water education resources for high school teachers and educators.

These resources are free for non-commercial use in schools, environmental education centres and for other non-commercial educational groups.

We also share resources from other water related programs that link with our programs.

Brand without a bottle

Students having their photo taken.

Enter our competition to see yourself on the big screen!

Year 7 & 8 English students have the chance to take part in our short film contest in Terms 1 & 2, 2018. Finalists will be professionally filmed, produced and shared on the big screen!

It's a great way to engage students, spark their imagination and creativity and improve their persuasive writing skills.

The program is fun, engaging and meets the NSW English Syllabus, providing a full unit of work for Stage 4 English.

It's easy for teachers, fun for students and there are great prizes to be won!

Find out more about The brand without a bottle at Our Sydney our water.

Plant picks

Students will learn to:

  • understand the relationship between local environmental characteristics and plants
  • identify the suitability of plants to different environments
  • the relationship between plant characteristics and water requirements
  • access information from a variety of sources
  • analyse and interpret information to make recommendations
  • explore and evaluate new ideas
  • communicate conclusions and ideas.


Plant picks
lesson plan.

Sourcing water

Students will learn to:

  • understand different sources of water
  • investigate the advantages and disadvantages of different water sources
  • analyse and interpret information to determine the best option
  • explore and evaluate new ideas
  • communicate conclusions and ideas.


Sourcing water
lesson plan.

2018 Chemistry

Balancing chemical equations - drinking water filtration and pH buffering

The following resources will help students to further understand the chemistry behind the treatment process at Orchard Hills Water Filtration Plant. 


2019 HSC Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Science and Investigating Science

Depth Studies

We will be supporting teachers and students in their Depth Study investigations for the new HSC subjects.

For those who have been on our excursions in the past, you will find similar content in the Acids, bases and equilibrium excursion program. Our Polymers and Water management excursions will support other syllabus points in Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Science and Investigating Science.

The structure of our program will change. We will show industry practice, that meets a syllabus point, to form the base of a Depth Study.

Student will be encouraged to work scientifically by:
  • questioning and predicting
  • communicating
  • planning and conducting investigations
  • processing  and analysing data and information
  • problem solving.
Our Depth Study excursion programs package includes:
  • free excursions providing fieldwork base for further investigations
  • syllabus linked lesson plans with assessment guides
  • links to online content
  • access to industrial monitoring data.
For more information on our Depth Study excursion programs, email us.

Want to make your own cloud?

Try this experiment to make your own cloud and see how evaporation, condensation and precipitation works.

Safety first! You need adult supervision for this experiment. Make a cloud.

Learn more about the natural water cycle.
 

Want to make your own pH indicator?

Try this experiment to make your pH indicator out of cabbage! Test things in your home and see if they are an acid or a base. 

Safety first! You need adult supervision for this experiment. Make an indicator. 
 

Water for life

Water for life is a resource developed by the NSW Science Teachers Association (NSWSTA) that focuses on scientific problem solving. The resource provides learning opportunities for students to develop their own investigations or use scenarios to improve higher thinking skills.

You can request the science resources from the NSW Government's Metropolitan Water Directorate by email.
 

Hunter Water - school education pack

Hunter Water has produced a range of resources suitable for use in preschool, infants, primary and high school. All of these resources can be downloaded from this page.

The resources are designed to support the educational programs offered to schools in the Hunter Water area of operation however they can be used independent of these program.

You can find these resources at Hunter Water.
 

Water, water everywhere! 

What is the water cycle? Follow a water molecule as it journeys from the ocean to the atmosphere then back to earth.

People and climate can affect the water cycle. How do they do this?

You can find these resources on ABC Splash.

Self-guide excursion program

These excursion programs are designed for teachers to deliver. The sites selected are all open to the public and managed by us.
 

Front page of the PowerPoint presentation for Johnstons Creek self-guide program

Sydney Water and Johnstons Creek self-guide excursion resource for teachers.


The programs cover the syllabus content from Water in the World - the value of water. Students will:

  • investigate waterway management in Sydney
  • recognise the changing value of water resources over time
  • understand how we protect public health and the environment.

These programs will be updated as our projects are completed and new programs will be added to this list throughout the year.

There are currently five options for this program:

  • Alexandra Canal, Tempe.
  • Johnstons Creek, Annandale.
  • Powells Creek, Homebush.
  • Prospect Reservoir, Prospect.
  • Tank Stream, Sydney.

For site locations see our map

Resource pack for teachers includes:

  • teacher program (linked to Syllabus) – between four and six lessons including a one to two-hour excursion
  • in class worksheet/s
  • field worksheet
  • PowerPoint presentation with notes providing questions (and answers) to get students thinking. Includes additional information about the site, links to other online resources, responsibilities of Sydney Water and definitions of water related terms.
Want to request this self-guide excursion pack?
The best way to request this new excursion is to email us.


Urban water cycle diagram

Urban water cycle

Illustration of the urban water cycle. Select the image to see a larger version.

We have developed a resource that shows layers of water infrastructure in Sydney. 

Use the Urban water cycle PowerPoint in your classroom.
 



 

Public Utilities Board (PUB) Singapore's National Water Agency


With limited land to collect and store rainwater, Singapore faced drought, floods and water pollution for many years. These challenges inspired Singapore to seek innovative ideas to secure a sustainable supply of water.

Today Singapore has a more reliable supply of water known as the ‘Four National Taps’:
  1. water from local catchment
  2. imported water
  3. highly-purified reclaimed water known as NEWater
  4. desalinated water.
To learn more, visit PUB Singapore.

Watch the school resource video.


Thames Water, United Kingdom

Thames Water is the UK's largest water and wastewater services provider, supplying tap water and removing wastewater across London and the Thames Valley. 

Their history dates back to the 1600s. They have been responsible for some impressive engineering projects that have influenced the way we manage wastewater and protected public health, in many cities of the world, including Sydney.

Learn more about the way Thames Water manages the urban water cycle today.

We offer a range of resources to support learning programs to schools in our area of operations.

To request resources for your school, please email us.

Flow cup

A flow cup can measure the flow rate of your tap and shower in three easy steps. Measuring flow rates is part of doing a water audit.

Water audit video

The video is a short and simple guide to doing a water audit and developing your school's water efficiency plan.


Water based activities

A range of interactive water based games for K - 12 are available through the primary and secondary students' portals with the Australian Water Association. .

Find out more about these Teacher  resources.