Minister for Energy and Utilities Don Harwin officially opened the $1 million Hunter Water Centre for Education and announced it is free for local school tours.

Minister Harwin said the region’s first purpose-built water education centre will help prepare the Hunter and its next generation for a more sustainable future.

“The $1 million Hunter Water Centre for Education is an investment in the Hunter’s water security. This will provide local kids with a greater appreciation for water and I believe the knowledge they gain will make for more efficient use,” Mr Harwin said.

“The facility is the first of its kind in the region and allows students to learn in a hands-on environment with experiments, interactive games and working models. The tour program is tailored to the curriculum, which means teachers have access to a ready-made and high-quality learning resource at no cost.

“Water is our most precious resource and through the unique locally focused learning experience provided by Hunter Water experts, students will learn about where their water comes from and why it’s so vital to conserve it,” he said.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter and Central Coast Scot MacDonald said the centre will be a valuable asset for thousands of students expected to visit every year.

“With the Hunter’s population expected to reach 862,000 by 2036, educating our young ones about smarter water use will help reduce pressure on our local water supply and make for a more secure and sustainable future,” Mr MacDonald said.

“The Centre for Education will give students important lessons on the sewage system, an essential but not often talked about area where better education can prevent problems like the ‘fatberg’ blockages plaguing pipes across Australia.”

Hunter Water Managing Director Jim Bentley said the centre would provide an exciting learning experience for local students.

“Hunter residents have gradually reduced their water usage over the past three decades thanks to new technology and waterwise behavior. The Centre for Education will help continue this trend by getting young people interested in and excited about water from a young age.”