Water covers approximately 75% of the Earth’s surface but resources are decreasing. With 13,000 students and 3,000 staff at the University, our water usage becomes huge but individual steps can be taken to reduce water usage. 

The University is committed to reducing our water usage, benefiting both the environment as well as reducing the ever-increasing costs associated with our use.  Read all about the steps the University is taking to do this, how you can help on campus and at home and many other interesting things about water.

University Water Usage

Water consumption is measurable in terms of usage of taps, toilets, and catering. Individually these operations use small volumes of water but when these actions are multiplied by the number of users, presently over 3,000 staff and 13,000 students, the overall result is that the University is classified as a large water user by Scottish Water.

To give an idea of scale:

The amount of water used by the University per year is equivalent in volume to 6 times the MacRobert Building.

Figures for the University Halls of Residences show huge amounts of water being used per person per day:


Use per person per day (litres)

Crombie Johnston Halls


Hillhead Halls


UK Average


Developing Countries Average


Developed Countries Average


Water Conservation

The University has been targeting water use over several years and the main development in this area has been the increasing adoption of water saving technology and automatic controls in toilet areas.

  1. Taps - The University has been installing push head taps in toilet areas to limit water use. This measure has recently been modified and following refurbishment, spray mixer taps with sensors are used which increase water savings further.
  2. Automatic Flush Controls – These are used to limit flushing by urinals and are particularly effective at reducing water consumption outside operating hours.
  3. Low Volume Cisterns – Again when toilet areas are refurbished the existing large cisterns (typical volume 13 litres) are changed for new low volume cisterns with a volume of 6 litres.

These measures have contributed to a reduction of over 100,000 cubic metres (equivalent to 100,000 tonnes of water) per year.

 Things you can do on campus to help:

  • Only use the water you need and do not waste it. Don't overfill kettles or let taps run when they are not being used.
  • If you have lab equipment that needs water for cooling please supply details on an enquiry form on the contact us page and we will check to see if it would be more effective to chill it using closed circuit equipment.
  • Report all leaks that you see - the costs of leaving a dripping or leaking tap, even for a few days are high.
Water Coolers

The University has made the transition from using large numbers of bottled water coolers (Top Picture), which have a range of environmental issues associated with them, to using plumbed in water coolers (Bottom Picture).

  Picture of the old and new watercoolers on campus

 There are many environmental benefits of these new water coolers:                  

  • Reducing the need to manufacture the plastic storage bottles.
  • Reducing the need to transport the bottles.
  • Reducing the requirement to dispose of the bottles.
  • Reducing the build up of the plastic bottles and cups, that are continuously changed.
  • Carbon filters remove impurities from the water, and also improve taste, without removing any of the important trace minerals.
  • Allow a consistent cold water supply.

In addition they reduce costs as the cost of buying the water in bottles for a typical bottled water cooler is about £400 per year. The same volume of mains water costs just £4 per year.