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Water

Environment Canada states that water use in the 20th century increased more than six fold, and continues to increase about twice as fast as the human population is increasing.

It is also shown that the current average North American diet requires over 1,800 m3 of water per person per year from both natural rainfall and irrigation; the diet of an average African living in the sub-Saharan region is produced with less than 650 m3 of water per person per year.

McMaster University continues to move towards conserving more water through innovative initiatives. The purpose of such projects is to decrease McMaster’s dependency on Municipal water system therefore resulting in a much more sustainable campus. Through the links to the left, you will find leading projects that McMaster has initiated that meet the above goal and its overall approach towards sustainability.

Recent Projects

Conservation of City Water Cooling on Process Units to Chilled Water Loop

The component to change city water cooled equipment to campus chilled water loop has been completed for all campus facilities and cafeterias in 2014/2015. This retrofit ensures compliance with the current potable water use regulations with the benefit of the reduction in fresh potable water consumption. Results are presented in the table below.

Water System Retrofit in Life Sciences Building Fish Tank Room

The Building 39 Life Sciences Facility has a fish research room which currently utilizes potable water through fish tanks and drains it to the sewage system. The current annual consumption of city water is approximately 50,000 m3 or $ 140,000 in annual costs at current water rates. This is a significant potable water consumption area on campus.

The project involves implementing best practices from fish research labs at University of Guelph, Aqua Lab and Environment Canada and implement a filtration and circulation system which would have the capability to reduce potable water consumption by 80-95%. Preliminary engineering on the project has been completed and has been approved by the relevant faculty and lab staff.

 

Other Initiatives

Although urinals might not normally be an interesting topic of conversation, the ones in the David Braley Athletic Centre have a very unique aspect to them. They are ultra low-flush and only use 1/2 a litre of water per flush! Research done for the recently released Campus Sustainability Assessment Framework shows that older model toilets previously used on campus consumed up to 5.5 gallons of water per flush. This has been a major advancement in the preservation of municipal water and has also helped to decrease our dependence on the amount of potable water supplied to us.