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Water

Clean water is a finite natural resource. Even Tasmania, with an apparent wealth of freshwater, goes through drought periods, which see significant drops in water storage in its vast lakes and waterways. Furthermore, using water requires energy to process, pump, heat, re-pump, and re-process it.

The University has water harvesting and water efficiency infrastructure currently in place across its three campuses (e.g., rainwater tanks, dual-flush toilets, and water efficient fittings) and has been installing water-efficient fittings in all new buildings since 2009. Water consumption was approximately 211,00 kL in 2016 (the equivalent of around 10 kL per student).

Water sustainability is a complex issue at UTAS since water is an accessible resource with multiple distinct uses and different points of interaction within the community. However, the University has much to gain from making more sustainable choices in the use of water.

Incorporating sustainability principles into water management decisions makes sound economic sense since there is a cost associated with buying water from the University’s provider and discharging effluent/sewage; these costs are likely to increase in the future. Reduction of water consumption at UTAS could represent significant savings in the medium term.

By incorporating sustainable water management, UTAS demonstrates a commitment to achieving sustainability objectives not only for the benefit of the organisation, but for the benefit of the wider community. This in turn builds goodwill within the public sphere.

Sustainable water management is an important tool to reduce financial, environmental and reputation risks for organisations. Risk can be reduced by:

  • fulfilling government commitments to environmental sustainability by meeting legislative requirements)
  • demonstrating best practice to the community
  • ensuring academic staff and students are engaged in the reduction of water consumption

Sustainable water management can help an organisation meet a range of environmental and social goals and objectives. For example:

  • energy conservation and reduction of CO2 emissions through the reduction of water consumption since water pumping, delivery, heating and wastewater treatment facilities consume a significant amount of energy
  • habitat conservation through minimising human water use, which helps to preserve fresh water ecosystems, as well as reducing the need to build water diversion infrastructures
  • ensuring availability for future generations.

There are a number of ways to save water, and they all start with you. Remember, every drop counts!

Residents

  • Take shorter showers. Take a timer, clock, or stopwatch into the bathroom with you and challenge yourself to cut down your showering time. Three to four minute showers is a best practice goal.
  • Wait until you have a full load of clothes before you wash a load. Also, be sure to use the economy mode and this will save you both water and electricity! You can save up to 3,000 litres a month.
  • Turn the tap off while you are brushing your teeth, shaving, doing dishes, and so on.
  • Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.
  • Wash your fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap.
  • Don't use running water to thaw food. Defrost food in the refrigerator for water efficiency and food safety or if you are in a hurry, use the defrost function of the microwave oven.
  • Report leaking toilets and faucets. To report a leak, please contact Campus Services by email (Campus.Services@utas.edu.au) or phone (03 6226 2791). A silent toilet leak could waste from 100 to 1000 litres every day!
  • Don't use your toilet as a trash can. Each time you flush the toilet you use up to 9 litres of clean water.

Non-residents

  • Report leaking toilets and faucets. To report a leak, please contact Campus Services by email (Campus.Services@utas.edu.au) or phone (03 6226 2791). A silent toilet leak could waste from 100 to 1000 litres every day!
  • Don't use the toilet as a trash can. Each time you flush the toilet you use up to 9 litres of clean water.
  • Bring a refillable water bottle to Uni to avoid using a drinking fountain that can use more water than a person drinks.
  • When using a drinking fountain, let go of the button/handle when pausing for a breath.
  • In 2006, 60,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions were generated from Australians using bottled water.
    Source: Based on a 2006 calculation by the former NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change. The calculation used 2006 AC Neilson information regarding the number of bottles of water Australians bought, and Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment & Security information on how much oil was needed to produce the bottles.

You can reduce your impact by using a refillable water bottle and drinking out of a tap or one of the refillable water stations across UTAS campuses in the major activity centres and at the bike hubs. 

For more information about the impact of bottled water see:

More information

For more information on water conservation, contact water.utas@utas.edu.au