Carleton University uses approximately 420,000 cubic metres of water a year at a cost of approximately $1.1 million. The largest demands are for use in residences, athletics, power plant cooling systems, laboratories and food preparation and serving. Since a 2013-14 baseline we have seen water use reduce by 19% here on campus.

Carleton University has invested substantially over the years in metering potable water at the building level. As a result, the university is in the enviable position of being able to assess where water is consumed and targeting specific areas where additional conservation opportunities exist. The Canal Building for example is sub-metered to provide even more specific information on how and where potable water is consumed. As with all resources, the production of potable water consumes other resources such as energy so a reduction in use has positive environmental and financial impacts.

To better understand where water is consumed on campus, the sustainability office conducted a water audit of Carleton University. The data collected will allow for specific targeting of high-use areas. The sustainability office has also worked with Housing and Conference Services to ensure that the renovation of the Russell Grenville residence established a new level of water conservation at Carleton. There has been a drop in water consumption in Russell-Grenville of 65 per cent which will save Carleton’s Housing and Conference Services $44,000 a year in utility costs alone.


  • Achieve annual water consumption reduction (intensity).

What Can You Do?

Never the leave the tap running when not in use

Faucets use about 11 litres of water a minute, so when you brush your teeth, shave, wash your face, hands, do the dishes, or anything else, make sure that the tap is only turned on when you are actually using the water. Doing so can save over 1,500 gallons of water per person per year!

  • Turn off the tap when lathering your hands, brushing your teeth, or scrubbing dishes
  • Use just enough water to wash your hands or your face when it is time to rinse

Report leaking faucets or fix them if it is at home

A single drip from a faucet may not seem like a big deal, but a leaking faucet runs 24/7, and when more than one faucet is leaking, that water can add up. If a faucet leaks about 1 drip every second (a moderately slow drip), about 5 gallons of water is wasted each day. Multiply that by all the leaky faucets in a neighborhood or city, and the water wasted really adds up. Luckily, dripping faucets can be fixed, and depending on where you live there are multiple options for what you can do.

  • If you rent, call your landlord immediately after you see a leaking faucet so that it can be fixed
  • Learn how to fix leaky faucets yourself and gain some home-improvement skills
  • On-campus staff and residents should contact Facilities Management and Planning

Shorten showers by one minute or more

Standard shower heads use five to seven gallons of water in just one minute. Even low-flow shower heads shoot out about 2.5 gallons of water every minute, so by cutting just one minute off your shower you could save up to 2,555 gallons of water every year.

  • Aim to take a shower in which the water is running no longer than five minutes
  • Invest in a shower timer to know exactly how long your showers take

Drink tap water instead of bottled

Take advantage of water bottle filling stations across the campus.

  • Drink only from the tap with glasses or reusable water bottles
  • Fill up reusable water bottles on campus at a filtered water bottle filling station

Carry a reusable water bottle

Bottled water costs consumers 240 to 10,000 times more per gallon than tap water. Additionally, bottling water comes with tremendous environmental and social costs. Save yourself some money and help save the planet by bringing your own water bottle everywhere.

Install low-flow shower heads and taps

Aerators introduce bubbles into the stream so that although you are still able to wash, rinse, etc effectively, much less water is used.


Global Water Institue

Carleton University is a respected leader in water-related research and education.The Global Water Institute, hosted at Carleton University, represents an active multi-disciplinary cluster of more than 100 specialized researchers focused on addressing domestic and international water challenges. Additionally, the Global Water Institute possesses rare physical proximity to an unparalleled local network of international embassies, trade commissions, federal government agencies, NGO and multinational headquarters.

These valuable attributes position the Global Water Institute as a uniquely convenient collaborator for water sector partners seeking assistance with international projects, government funding recommendations and exceptional networking opportunities.

For more information about the Global Water Institution at Carleton University, click here.