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On the 22 March it was 'World Water Day', which got us thinking. How much water does the University use and what are we doing to reduce it?

Across the University estate in 2014-2015 we used 366,109m3 of water. That’s enough to fill King’s College chapel around 14 times over. If the water was spread out across the area of the City of Cambridge, it would be just under a centimetre deep (let’s hope our plumbing is robust enough to stop either of those events happening!). 

The University’s water use equates to around 36 litres for each student and staff member, each day. This compares to the 150 litres water used by an average UK citizen every day. Water costs the University approximately £726,607 per year, or around £74 for every member of staff. If we harvested our water use directly from rainwater instead of buying it from the local water network, we would have needed 113 football pitches of space to collect enough to meet the University’s needs! 

While some of the water is used in conventional ways such as in toilets, kitchens and catering outlets, some of is also used for scientific and research purposes such as in labs. The University’s Environmental Sustainability Vision, Strategy and Policy includes an overarching aim to conserve water through efficient use and management, with a target to reduce water consumption by 20% by 2020 against a 2005 baseline. We’ve got some tips for staff and students on saving water on our website. Why not download our poster to remind staff to use water efficiently?