Water Use and Conservation

The total water usage between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014 was 84,179,305 gallons of water.

Many of the retrofit projects have focused on implementing low-flow water fixtures and upgrading the plumbing systems in general. Several of the newer campus buildings also utilize dual-flush toilets to help reduce the water consumption of those fixtures. Also, recent purchases of industrial dishwashing equipment have realized significant savings over their predecessors. Previous dishwashers used 400 gallons per minute, but they were replaced with models that used only 90 gallons per minute.

As a general practice, our campus also practices water efficient landscaping by planting native species and other low-maintenance plant varieties that do not require significant water inputs. This practice is also extended to most turf areas on campus, as no-mow zones during summer eliminates much of the need to maintain traditional turf areas. The only time we water anything, it is to establish areas of new turf or other new plantings.
In concerns of conserving water, a significant portion of water consumption has to do with running chiller units to provide air conditioning to buildings during the summer months.

Therefore, an effort to properly manage indoor temperatures has a significant impact on our overall water use. Proper maintenance of these chillers also ensures that fresh water is being used efficiently. Another way practice the campus participates in aim to conserve water is a trayless food service. The Trayless food service was introduced several years ago and significant water savings were realized in a very limited rollout at the dining halls on campus. This has been adopted as campus policy and has the added benefit of reducing food waste that might have been taken if someone has a tray to use to hold extra food they end up not eating.

Dual-Flush Toilets

This technology is employed in Hyland Hall to help reduce water consumption.

Water Filling Stations

We have installed several Elkay EZH20 Water Bottle Filling Stations around campus.  There are numerous benefits to providing a free source of filtered tap water to the campus community and these filling stations have become the new campus standard for water fountains and are gradually being phased in throughout many academic buildings and each residence hall as it is remodeled. 

Current locations of filling stations are maintained interested student organizations on this Google spreadsheet.  A comprehensive inventory is currently underway, but at this point every academic building has at least one water filling stations located inside. 

Rainwater Management

Rock River WatershedMore than two hundred municipalities in Wisconsin (cities, villages, towns, and counties) within urbanized ares are required to have Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permits under NR 216, Wis. Adm. Code.  UW-Whitewater must adhere to this requirement as a campus since we have large areas of impervious surfaces (parking lots, buildings, and sidewalks) and discharge storm water into the Whitewater Creek watershed.  The MS4 permits require UW-Whitewater and other affected entities to reduce polluted storm water runoff by implementing storm water management programs with best management practices.  Storm water management programs cover a wide array of activities, including:

  • Public Education and Outreach
  • Public Involvement and Participation
  • Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
  • Construction Site Pollutant Control
  • Post-Construction Storm Water Management
  • Pollution Prevention Practices for the Municipality
  • Developed Urbanized Area Standard
  • Storm Sewer System Maps
  • Impaired Waters

To help facilitate public education, outreach, involvement, and participation requirements of the MS4 permit, the Rock River Stormwater Group (RRSG) was formed as a coalition of ten municipalities, UW-Whitewater and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) representatives. The RRSG was established in 2008 to develop and implement a Stormwater Education Program to help groups fulfill the WDNR MS4 permit requirements and to promote sustainable stormwater practices in the Rock River Basin.  You can find more information on the Group's activities (including past Work Plans, Annual Reports, and Meeting Minutes) or information on how you can help protect our local waterways. 

For information specific to UW-Whitewater, the following documents are provided as a specific resource to storm water activities on campus and serves as support documents for the MS4 permitting process.  Please contact our office if you have specific questions.

Wastewater Management

The total amount of wastewater discharged between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014 was 59,827,805 gallons. There is no wastewater handled naturally on our campus. All water enters the sanitary sewer system and eventually ends up at the City of Whitewater's wastewater treatment facility, which does not utilize this technology.