We've reduced water use by 36 per cent since 2005/6 - by targeting leaks and introducing water efficient equipment and technology. 

Our commitment 

We're dedicated to reducing water consumption on campus. How? Through technological innovation and behaviour change.

We aim to:

  • Reduce water consumption from 7.3m3 per student to below 3.3m3 by 2015.
  • Maintain water consuming equipment at its optimum efficiency in all buildings and facilities.
  • Reduce consumption through tighter control and elimination of leakages.
  • Avoid unnecessary expenditure on water consumption.

Our performance: 

  • Since 2005/06, we've reduced annual water consumption by 36 per cent.
  • Our goal to reduce water consumption per student is near the target, with consumption per student currently at around 3.7m3. Water use per user including staff is 3.3m3. 

How we're reducing water consumption

With changing weather patterns and increasing global demands, water is the next big global environmental threat - with huge societal impacts. Not only that, the South West has one of the highest water charges in the country. We're committed to responsible water management as part of our overall sustainability strategy. And we believe that water conservation is paramount in terms of protecting the environment and reducing costs. 

Our first round of water conservation from 1991 to 2004 led to a 45 per cent reduction in water use, delivering a saving of £1.6 million and 300TCO2e. We have half-hourly water meters throughout the campus, which provides intense monitoring and mapping of water consumption. Towards the end of 2015 we installed sub metering in the Smeaton Building, due to there being unexpected high water use in the building. The additional metering has enabled closer monitoring but has also provided the building users with information about their water use and has caused a change in behaviour, enabling the technicians to change the way they operate equipment including the aquarium. From the 1 Jan to the 30 April 2015, compared to the same period last year, consumption has reduced by 35 per cent, equating to £8,000, which equates to over £20,000 a year.

The more intelligent metering gives us a much greater understanding of water use on campus, meaning we can target problem areas. Water is also closely monitored through our profile alerts platform, altering us when water use changes from expected levels due to a leak, or change in user behaviour or equipment.

Rainwater harvesting

Rainwater harvesting technology is used in the Roland Levinsky Building, Nancy Astor Building, Marine Building and The House.

Rainwater is collected from the roof and stored in large tanks. The water is then used for the flushing of toilets, and prevents the drinking water from the mains being used. There are many advantages to harvesting rainwater, mainly in providing an independent and local water supply, which is not impacted by regional water restrictions and which reduces the demand on local water infrastructure.