There are a variety of opportunities to reduce water consumption on campuses. By reducing campus water consumption, institutions can reduce pressures on local aquifers, streams, rivers, lakes and aquatic wildlife. By decreasing storm water runoff and treating storm water on site, institutions can help replenish natural aquifers, reduce erosion impacts, and minimize local water contamination. Financial savings can occur from both the original acquisition of water and the heating water.
Reduction of water consumption can be varied; simple adjustment on water sink aerators, low flow urinals/toilets, storm water management, building water metering, non-potable water usage, Xeriscaping (vegetation which does not require irrigation) weather-informed irrigation, use of grey water, creation of cisterns, and other innovations.
Another critical piece is evaluation and recycle of water used in cooling plants. That water usage can be millions of gallons and campuses are urged to evaluate the return-on-investment to create projects to recycle cooling plant water.
Note Business Officer cover story from May 2019 "Water Resourceful"
Texas Water Report: Going Deeper for the Solution. Drought issues impact many states. However, even if drought is not a factor in your region, cost of water filtration is still impacting campuses. Unite report from Texas on State of Water has applicable parts for the entire country.
Valencia Community College, Orlando, Fla. Energy, water and cost reductions poster from 2014 Annual Meeting indicates great succes in reducing their water usage.
McLennan Community College, Waco, Texas Water conservation, energy conservation and recycling poster from the 2014 Annual Meeting.
McLennan Community College, Waco, TX 2015 Annual Meeting poster indicating reduction in square footage cost of electrical, water and gas from 2008 to 2014 - good graph highlighting dynamic improvement.
California State University, Fresno, CA Water Conservation in the landscape via water absorbing polymers and xeriscape poster from the 2015 Annual Meeting.
Howard Community College, Columbia, MD Stream restoration with community and government partners and students highlighted in this poster from 2015 Annual Meeting that benefits more than just the campus proper; positively impacting the community and the students involved.
Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Ga. Many great concepts from the 2014 Annual Meeting poster on performance landscape, storm water master plan, tree canopy plan and data, and the living, learning laboratory.
KEY FACILITIES METRICS SURVEY INCLUDES WATER USAGE
Fifth year results of 2017-18 survey are pending but four other years are noted at APPA/NACUBO Key Facilities Metric survey. Over 320 colleges and universities of all types and regions participated in this survey. 240 campuses responded in the first year.
The trend line indicates that there is NOT a significant decrease overall in water consumption usage per student. Individual campuses are doing significant water reductions, but other factors indicate no real reduction in water usage from this particular group of survey respondents. Just as campus leadership can recite pertinent campus facts such as cost of tuition, types of academic programs, number of students, etc - it is critical for them to also know basic facilities data to improve strategic planning such as Btu, electrical, and water consumption as well as waste output and carbon footprint. Inform your campus leaders of your water usage per student. Evaluate if you can reduce water usage!
The next survey for 2018-19 opens in Sept and closes December 2019. www.appa.org/nacubosurvey19/ Results from this survey reflect these are five key (and simple) elements that readily come from vendor or utility bills. Answer as many questions as you can. Survey is open to all campuses regardless of membership in APPA or NACUBO.
Campuses are urged to reflect upon their own numbers and evaluate for improvement every year However, some data can be considered broadly for benchmarking purposed.
For additional information, check out the September 2015 Business Officer magazine article, "Five Telling Measures."