Water management methods at Newcastle University

Water conservation is an important element of the work that we do at the University to be a sustainable campus. In November 2022, the world’s population reached 8 billion people and this number is continually increasing, therefore the demand for water is also rising beyond the current levels.  

Water conservation is important because “Clean fresh water is necessary for drinking and sanitation, providing for our crops, livestock and industry, and creating and sustaining the ecosystems on which all life depends”

United Nations Environment Programme 

Would you like to learn more about the University’s objectives and targets in relation to water conservation? Check out our EMS and EnMS Action Plan!  

Sustainable Development Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

What actions is the University taking to conserve water? 

  1. We are installing Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) software across the University.  

This system is capable of logging water consumption data every 15 minutes. This means we can assess and monitor the University’s water usage data accurately.  

  1. Identifying any issues with fixtures and fittings in our buildings 

We ask staff and students to report problems such as broken taps and toilets when they find them so they can be fixed quickly. We also use the AMR data to help us with this as the frequent data logging enable us to identify trends and identify anomalies where problems may be occurring.  

  1. We are installing push taps across University buildings to reduce our water consumption,  
  1. As part of our Environmental Management System we have Operational Control Procedures in place that control significant environmental aspects such as water reduction and trade effluence. These are audited internally and externally annually. 

Ways you can help the University to conserve water:  

Across the whole of campus: 

  1. You can report any water defect, whether it’s a dripping tap, overfilling toilet, leaking pipe or water which is too hot, by getting in touch with the Estates and Facilities Helpdesk  
  1. Make sure taps, hoses or cooling systems are turned off after use. 
  1. Use water sensibly, think ‘avoid wastage’ when using water. 

In labs on campus: 

  1. Use recirculating cooling systems. This helps to reduce the amount of water going down drains that have had energy used to cool the water to the required temperature for the experiment. The principle of re-use where possible applies to water too!  
  1. Avoid using water vacuum pumps where possible as they use large quantities of water. 
  1. Don’t use distilled water when it is not necessary. This can be communicated to all users of your lab by specifying what levels of water purity are necessary for various applications. This helps to avoid the use of pure water for simple applications. 
  1. Reduce the water supply to water-cooled equipment to the minimum required to achieve adequate cooling. 
  1. Running washers only when they are full, and ensuring the lab has correctly sized equipment for its common usage as this can prevent water wastage by reducing unnecessarily large runs of a half empty washer.  

Do you work in a lab at Newcastle University? You should join the Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework (LEAF)!  

The framework will provide you with many actions that your lab can take to become more sustainable along with guidance, you can also receive a bronze, silver and gold award.  

Join LEAF!  

You can learn more about LEAF over on our website Sustainable Campus

Get in touch: 
 If you have any ideas about how the University can conserve water, please email us at sustainable-campus@ncl.ac.uk 

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