What is Sydney University doing?
- Water saving initiatives
- Water reuse initiatives
- Commonsense Gardening
- Finding and fixing leaks
- Low flow taps
- Urinals and Toilets
The University earned a NSW Government Energy and Water Green Globe Award for a series of initiatives that saved more than 1.2 billion litres of water from 1994 to 2006 through the work of CIS’s Water and Energy Manager and staff.
The University has managed to substantially reduce its water use despite growing student numbers. As part of the University's water savings initiatives additional meters have been installed across the campuses to provide a more detailed picture of how water, electricity and gas are consumed. If you have a UniKey you can view how your building compares online.
Cumberland and Camden campuses have joined Sydney Water’s "Every Drop Counts" program and are also working towards reducing water use at those sites.
In August 2006 the University secured grant funding of $170,000 from the NSW Government’s Water Savings Fund to install water efficient laboratory equipment in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Buildings.
The Campus 2010 project has seen new buildings and open space on Camperdown and Darlington campuses with world class and innovative water savings initiatives. A number of stormwater harvesting and treatment systems have been built as part of open space developments on Eastern Avenue, Gadigal Green and under the new pedestrian footbridge at the Shepherd Street entrance. These are “rain gardens” that collect rainfall run-off from nearby roads, paths, tennis courts and buildings which then treated by slow filtration through specially designed soil and plant systems to be collected in underground tanks for re-use. The water can be used for irrigation and internal fixtures in the Law and Jane Foss Russell buildings, potentially saving up to 80% of the potable water demand. Download a diagram of this project.
The Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources has entered a partnership with Campus Infrastructure & Services to monitor the performance of the systems in order to make recommendations about expanding the uses of the water and how the system should be managed
In July 2009, the University of Sydney received the Stormwater Industry Association (NSW) Award for Excellence in Stormwater Management and Initiatives for these stormwater harvesting and re-use systems..
In this lead item for the Channel 7, six o’clock news on 24 April 2007, Greg Maher reports on the heavy rain falling on Sydney and the need to develop rainwater harvesting schemes on a large scale. The item features John Lavarack, the previous Sustainability Manager from Campus Infrastructure & Services, showing off the University’s then recently completed rainwater harvesting system beneath the Shepherd Street footbridge. Also featured are comments by environmental engineer, Richard McManus, who was one of the design team for the system.
Our grounds are valued by staff, students and local residents. CIS Grounds staff has the challenge of balancing the competing demands of maintaining healthy, historically significant gardens with saving water.
On the Camperdown & Darlington campuses, 8km of drip irrigation pipes have been laid beneath the garden beds. The system is controlled by timers so that watering occurs overnight to minimise evaporation.
Gardens are mulched with a 50:50 blend made from compost produced onsite. The compost is made from tree prunings and animal manure from Vet Science.
200 water meters measure the consumption of water within buildings across campus. The meter data is fed into a custom made spreadsheet reporting system, and the results for your building are also available online. Automatic reports alert CIS when consumption is unusually high so that leaky pipes, toilets, taps and air conditioners can be fixed promptly.
The University has also entered a partnership with the NSW Department of Commerce and Department of Environment and Climate Change to trial new metering and monitoring technologies at Camden Campus. These provide streamlined data management, allowing users to get constant updates on water usage on-line and take quick management action where leaks or anomalies are detected.
Australian Aqualoc valves have been installed in many fixtures and can reduce the volume of water that flows through a tap by up to 75%.
Campus Infrastructure and Services has removed some of the control systems that cause urinals to continually flush, and for new refurbishments and buildings, manual push buttons that automatically shut off after a dose of water are preferred. Dual flush/low flow toilets have also been installed in some older buildings where they suit the plumbing.
In laboratories waterless vacuum pumps are replacing thirsty waterjet aspirators. Advanced Engineering Students have investigated the feasibility of reusing reject water from Reverse Osmosis units in labs across campus to water grounds. These studies influence the future planning for water.
The Dental Hospital
Michael Jean Louis and his team at Sydney Dental Hospital have four specialised plaster trimmers that create moulds from people's mouths. Users were inadvertently leaving the motor and water running, so the Hospital electrician and engineer retrofitted the machine with a solenoid valve and foot pedal. The motor will not function unless you depress the pedal, making it safer and saving water and power.