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Let's debate! To conserve or not to conserve?

About this lesson

Students will research, deliver and debate the topic: Saving water for the future.

Year level: 7

Theme: Water conservation

Learning objectives

Students can:
  • participate in a debate
  • research water restriction schedules in your local area
  • conduct research using multiple sources to support a position in a debate
  • deliver a speech that is organised and suited to the audience and that uses resource materials to clarify and defend positions.

Curriculum links


  • Plan, rehearse and deliver presentations, selecting and sequencing appropriate content and multi-modal elements to promote a point of view or enable a new way of seeing ACELY1720
  • Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive texts, selecting aspects of subject matter and particular language, visual, and audio features to convey information and ideas ACELY1725 
  • Use interaction skills when discussing and presenting ideas and information, selecting body language, voice qualities and other elements, (for example music and sound) to add interest and meaning ACELY1804

Things you will need

Lesson description


  • Explain the different stages of water restrictions.
  • Talk about what exemptions are available.
  • Mention what happens if you have a bore.
  • Ask students if they know what their watering roster days are? How can they find out?


  • Students will debate the argument: ‘Saving water should be a priority at all times, regardless of the availability of water’.
  • Points are given for being able to defend with evidence and being able to answer questions with conviction and justification. It doesn’t necessarily matter which team wins.

Debate rules

  1. Divide students into two equally numbered debate groups and one smaller judges group.
  2. Each debate group must research the topic to support their position. The judges group must research and develop a debate rubric to use for evaluation of those debating.
  3. Students will use the activity sheet to research and prepare their arguments.
  4. The affirmative and negative groups present their cases to the judges (2 minutes each).
  5. They both then prepare their rebuttal and summary before presenting again (2 minutes each).
  6. Judges will then deliberate and present their decision.

Reflect & summarise

Students use the rubric to assess the ability of each group to justify, reason and defend the positions of each debate group. Rational debate and evidence are more important than opinions. Points should also be awarded for listening, not interrupting and adhering to the rules for debating.

Extension activities

Teacher background information

What is the Integrated Water Supply Scheme?

The Integrated Water Supply Scheme (IWSS) provides scheme water to the Perth metropolitan area, Mandurah, Pinjarra, Waroona, Harvey, Binningup, Myalup and Yarloop and to towns and properties served by the Goldfields pipeline.

Background to sprinkler bans in WA

Daytime sprinkler bans have been in place since 1994–95, to ensure sensible water use by the community. In times of severe drought (or low rainfall) more extreme water restrictions, such as a total ban on the use of sprinklers, have been enforced.

In 2001, after one of the driest years on record, the 2-day watering roster was introduced for areas served by the IWSS in addition to the existing restrictions on the time of that sprinkler systems could be used.

The 2-day watering roster outlined the use of sprinklers and reticulation systems to only 2 rostered days per week and the restricted times of watering were restricted to either before 9am or after 6pm.

In October 2007, regional areas were also placed on a 2-day watering roster and a 3-day watering roster was implemented for users of groundwater and owners of private bores in the Perth metropolitan area and Mandurah. The daytime sprinkler ban continued to apply statewide.

Watering rosters

Information on seasonal sprinkler rosters for all areas of the state can be found on our website. These rosters apply to scheme water users as well as bore water users. View current watering rosters.

Relatively small savings in water use by households and businesses can make a significant contribution to reducing our overall water use. To achieve this, sprinkler rosters are in place as part of our permanent water efficiency measures. No matter what time of year or where you live, please be careful with your water use.

Scheme water users in Perth, Mandurah and towns south of (and including) Kalbarri and Kalgoorlie can use their sprinklers either before 9am or after 6pm, 2 days per week based on the last digit of your street number. Where there is no street number, the lot number is used.

Towns north of (and excluding) Kalbarri and Kalgoorlie can use sprinklers every alternate day either before 9am or after 6pm, based on the last digit of your house number. Where there is no house number, the lot number is to be used. From time to time some parts of the State will experience unusually dry periods and may be subject to temporary water restrictions.

Winter sprinkler ban

Every year during the months of June through to August, a permanent sprinkler ban applies to all scheme and bore water uses in Perth, Mandurah and some parts of the South West. Learn more about the winter sprinkler ban.


Department of Water, Water Agencies (Water Use) By Laws 2010 

Did you know?

Our watering rosters are in place to reduce WA's water use; they apply to all residential and business customers across the state. No matter the time of year remember to stick to your watering roster.

Key vocabulary

  • Ban: Prohibit especially by legal means or social pressure.
  • Debate: Discussing the pros and cons of an issue.
  • Exemption: Immunity from an obligation or duty.
  • Rebuttal: The act of refuting by offering an opposing argument.
  • Restriction: A principle that limits the extent of something.