UConn’s water consumption in 2014 was 465,478,000 gallons, up slightly from 2013, but still nearly 84,000,000 gallons less (-15.5%) than was consumed in 2005 (542,351,000 gallons), despite a 23% growth in the user population since that time.
In 2014-15, the most significant demand-side water conservation initiative consisted of Facilities - Building Services’ comprehensive low-flow retrofits of campus faucets, showerheads and toilets in both residential and academic buildings. This past spring semester, low flow fixtures installed in the residential buildings were projected to save nearly 58,000 gallons per day (gpd) during periods of average demand, and 98,000 gpd during peak water usage days.
Consistent with a goal of net zero energy and water growth, adopted in February as part of the Sustainability Framework to UConn’s new Campus Master Plan, this projected 58,000 gpd water use reduction in residential buildings alone will offset the anticipated increase in water consumed from the eventual occupancy and use of three buildings currently in final design or construction (STEM Residence Hall, NESB and IPB).
Conservation Throughout the Community: What's Happening Now
RA's have a unique position and role to pass on important information about the working of the University and dorm life to all UConn residents. To improve outreach on major environmental initiatives here at UConn, it is important that the RA's have access to a range of current information and updates.
- Compile outreach materials for RA's including online packets, brochures, pre-made monthly bulletin boards, door knob hangers, and other materials to post in dormitories and/or present at floor meetings. Resources can be found here.
- Collaborate with Hall Directors to develop and implement RA in-service project development on environmental literacy among residents and promoting water conservation practices
- Develop inter-campus competitions utilizing water metering data to measure changes in water usage in each building.
UConn student residents also play an important role in the overall use of our resources, and it is important that all residents have access to educational information about how the student community can impact resources such as water. Friendly reminders and informational signage are established to make this outreach effort.
- Developed and broadcasting Public Service Announcements for DRL HuskyVision channel on water conservation in dormitories
- Implement "Stop the Drop!" signage and other informational sinage at sinks and showers, as well as in laundry rooms
- Incorporate signage into residential areas through RA/ResLife environmental education materials
- Encourage standardized system for reporting leaks and malfunctions in plumbing and continue to provide appropriate contact information
The student body is always busy, and part of the excitement of being at a University is the opportunity to join student groups and organizations. For those students interested and involved with relevant activities or initiatives, a strong support and communication among the student organizations is critical. Often times, we hope to help build collaboration and group efforts to promote important initiatives on campus.
- Collaborate with EcoHusky Student Group, as well as SWCS, Wildlife Society, and other student organizations to promote activities or events to communicate water conservation to peers
- Utilize meetings to brainstorm signage designs and locations, gather volunteers for outreach events, and reflect on results from outreach campaigns
The administration, faculty, and staff of the University are no less important. Their participation in outreach efforts and conservation programs serve as an important role model and support for these programs.
- Utilize other local media to inform community and administration on current actions and initiatives, as well as the progress made during these efforts; promote positive PR "conscious community" image to locals and students
- Inter-departmental collaboration on areas of improvement and general conservation practices- example: Department of Engineering publication distribution on Water Conservation Tips to UConn community and outreach to peer institutions abroad.
- Letters to the Editor or articles in Daily Campus on current events related to water conservation
- WHUS and other broadband announcements on current water conservation initiatives and improvements