Colleges and universities

Universities and colleges are major water users. Irish Water is supporting these institutions to help lower water consumption and operating costs while protecting the environment.

Water conservation in education

Many of our educational institutions are pioneers when it comes to water conservation. A number of leading universities have taken part in Irish Water’s Water Stewardship Training. They have appointed Water Stewards to:

  • implement innovative plans for water conservation
  • install new water management technology
  • launch awareness campaigns for staff and students

DCU water conservation - a best practice case study

DCU's Energy newsletter is a great initiative that helps drive sustainable change across the campus. In June 2020 they issued a dedicated water edition to promote water conservation on campus and at home. Features include water balance mapping across all their campuses, practical tips to conserve, and a metric result orientated approach. This leads to reduced bills and a win for sustainability. The numbers below highlight the success they’ve had to date.

Reduction in water consumption across DCU community

Year

Average water consumption per person

2017

13,943 litres

2018

12,309 litres

2019

10,662 litres


Save water and money on your campus

Understand how much water the campus uses and how it compares to other institutions. This can help identify waste through leaks or poor behaviour.

Identify water waste

Set a baseline

Set a baseline

Set a baseline on water usage per annum per full time equivalent (FTE) student. Then track the university or college's progress in reducing this year on year.

Detect leaks

Detect leaks

Identify a period with little or no water use across areas of the campus. Monitor water consumption during this time and work out the litres per hour going through the meter. Multiply by the annual number of hours (X 8760) and that is the potential annual leak.

Raise awareness

Raise awareness

Train staff on the role of water at the college and their role in its conservation. Raise awareness amongst students and ask for their support to help the environment.

Procurement

Procurement

When replacing equipment such as dishwashers, ensure the new machines are energy efficient and use the minimum quantity of water possible.


Review bathrooms

Urinals

Urinals traditionally flush every 10-15 minutes, 24/7. This can occur even when the college is closed. One university used 25% of its water flushing urinals when the campus was closed over holidays. A good solution would be waterless urinals or sensors.

Sinks and taps

Two screw taps can dispense up to 15 litres of water per tap, per minute. Replacing these with lever mixer taps will reduce this. However, mixer taps with sensors are best practice as they dispense a maximum of 4 litres per minute.

Toilets

Old toilets use up to 15 litres per flush compared to new dual flush toilets which use 4 to 6 litres per flush. We recommend replacing the ladies toilets first as they are flushed after every use. "Replacing an old 12 litre toilet used six times per hour replaced with a 4/6 litre dual flush toilet will save €1,000 per toilet per annum."

Shower

Showers can use up to 25 litres of water per minute. Consider installing low flow showers which use a maximum of 10 litres per minute. These mix air with the water to give the impression of greater volume.


Outdoor conservation

Rainwater harvesting

Rainwater harvesting

Capture rainwater and use it for non-potable uses. Institutions can also install a full filtration system for use within their college buildings.

Landscaping

Landscaping

Review existing landscaping and irrigation practices with a view to reducing water used during summer periods.

Water stewardship training programme

Irish Water is running a water stewardship training programme in partnership with Central Solutions and the Lean & Green Skillnet. The programme supports colleges to lower their water consumption and reduce operating costs while protecting the environment.

Why register your college or university?

  • Achieve international best practice certification. The programme is accredited by the European Water Stewardship Standards (EWS).
  • Funded Programme by Irish Water and the Lean & Green Skillnet with the support of Skillnet Ireland and the Department of Education and Skills.
  • Reduce water consumption and operating costs at your site.
  • Learn the key principles of water stewardship and the actions required to improve your environmental performance.