Water Management

The University of Cincinnati was ranked as a top performer in the water category in the 2019 Sustainable Campus Index from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

Water Management Policies at UC

The University of Cincinnati has worked diligently to try and handle water in the most efficient, conservative, and multi-functional ways possible. Some of the ways this is achieved involves water conservation strategies campus wide through the use of chilled water to regulate building temperatures, harvesting water for irrigation and retention purposes, incorporating pervious hardscapes, and sustainable landscaping.

Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) events, where stormwater and sewage overburden a municipal sewer system, resulting in discharges to natural waterways, are commonplace in Cincinnati, as is the case in many older cities in the United States that feature outdated sewer systems. The output of sewage into natural waterways results in an enormous amount of pollution that negatively affects environmental, human, and economic wellbeing.  To provide a guiding framework for dealing with stormwater on campus, UC has also developed a Stormwater Master Plan, which looks at opportunities for how we can utilize green and gray infrastructure to reduce the possibility of combined sewer overflow events.

Green Roofs

One way that UC is reducing the amount of stormwater runoff is through the incorporation of green roofs in appropriate locations on campus. Currently, the University has two extensive green roofs, one on the DAA addition of the DAAP complex and one on Procter Hall.  The University also has the Zimmer Hall Roof Garden that functions as a green roof.  The new College of Business features an intensive green roof. In addition to reducing the amount of stormwater runoff and lessening the probability of CSO events, green roofs are multi-functional as they reduce the urban heat island effect, provide habitat, enhance biodiversity, reduce heating and cooling costs of the building, and add aesthetic and rejuvenating qualities. Green roofs are only one piece of the green infrastructure on campus.

8 Ways to Conserve Water

  1. Turn off faucets while washing hands or brushing teeth and save 4 gallons a minute.
  2. Turn water off while shampooing/ conditioning your hair and save more than 50 gallons a week.
  3. Drop tissues and other waste in the trash rather than toilet and save gallons each time.
  4. Keep showers under 5 minutes. You'll save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
  5. Wash full loads in dishwashers and washing machines. This could save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
  6. Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap for a cold drink.
  7. Don't thaw food under running water.
  8. Replace your shower head with a low flow version.

Make a conscious effort to do one thing every day at UC to conserve water. Every drop counts. Report leaks, dripping faucets and running toilets. A dripping faucet wastes more than 600 gallons a year; a running toilet, more than 131,000 gallons.