What is water conservation and why is it important?
Although most of the earth is covered in water, only 3% of this is freshwater and of this, only 1% is fit for human consumption. As the world's population increases and more countries become industrialised, we continue to consume drinking water faster than the natural water cycle takes to refill our lakes, rivers and reservoirs. The increasing effect of climate change is already making treated freshwater a finite resource in some parts of the developed world and continues to impact on UK water reserves. Continued access to supplies that are fit for human consumption require investment in water-saving measures and efficient resource management.
How we manage our water
In response to a student survey, we have implemented the Bin the Bottle scheme which replaces typical water bottle dispensers with mains-fed chilled/ambient water dispensers in key locations around the University. This initiative supports more sustainable water consumption behaviour by:
- reducing delivery-associated costs and carbon emissions
- ensuring constant water supply for students and staff and reducing bottled water purchases
- improving sustainable procurement by eliminating the need for and disposal of plastic cooler bottles
- reducing pressure on water treatments
In addition, our water dispenser partner donates part of each year's LJMU contract income to support emerging economies, increase access to drinking water and improve sanitation through the charity Just a Drop.
150litres of water per day is used by the average person in the UK. Once you factor in water footprint, this could rise to 5,000 litres.
2014/15LJMU's consumption of water was 51,804 cubic metres, around 2,300 metres per head, during this period
What you can do
Some ways that you can help conserve water.
- Instead of buying bottled water, free fills from water fountains on campus can save you money and reduce carbon
- Consider using tap water in place of bottled water, it costs less than 0.1p per litre. Just get a BPA-free bottle for life and take it with you wherever you go. Bottled water is 500 times as expensive – in other words, that's like paying around £1500 for a pint of beer!
- Try to avoid soft drinks as they have high costs and carbon footprints too. Water is better for you: it keeps you hydrated, healthy and alert.
- Avoid leaving the tap flowing while brushing your teeth or washing dishes
- Always use full loads in your washing machine and dishwasher – this cuts out inefficient washes in between
- Make use of water butts to collect rainwater to water plants, wash windows, etc.
- Fill a jug with tap water and place this in your fridge so that you don’t need to leave the tap running for cold water before you fill your glass
As part of the sustainability programme and supporting our continued membership of EcoCampus, we are exploring a number of initiatives and activities to improve our water resource management and efficiency, in particular exploring opportunities to reduce water consumption and waste per student and staff member. These include improved leak reporting, installation of flow restrictors to taps and showers, awareness-raising campaigns, and assessing opportunities for grey or rainwater harvesting.
Would you like to help shape our water saving initiatives or do you have any suggestions or comments? Please get in touch with us.