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Conserve water

22 September 2023

UC's potable water comes from aquifers beneath Christchurch which are fed by water from the Southern Alps. Learn how we're restoring and conserving water.


Conserving water on campus

Water Hose
The water we use

Like the rest of Christchurch, UC's potable water is sourced from aquifers underneath the city, which are fed by water from the Southern Alps.

Water is used on campus for a wide range of purposes including for drinking water, in bathrooms, in many lab practices, to provide air cooling in most buildings, and to irrigate the campus grounds.

Since 2016, total site water-use data has been available, and year on year comparative analysis is undertaken, and is reported in the annual Sustainability Report.

Individual buildings at the Dovedale site are not yet metered. Dovedale site has only one water entry point, which is already metered.

What happens to the water we use?

All water used within buildings, except for air-cooling water, goes to sewer or trade-waste for treatment.

Water piped through buildings to cool the indoor air temperature is then discharged into waterways running through the campus: the Ōtākaro/Avon river and Waiutuutu/Okeover Stream. The air-coolant water is a few degrees warmer than natural spring water, but otherwise has high water quality, with no chemicals added to it. Facilities Services monitors one site along Waiutuutu/Okeover Stream, including water temperature and flow rate from air-cooling outflow pipes.

Water that goes into drains in carparks, roads, and building down-pipes flows straight into our campus waterways. Several student research projects from the Natural Resources Engineering programme have examined aspects of stormwater quality and volumes flowing into Okeover Stream as part of the waterways restoration project.

What can you do?

Facilities Services is using building water monitoring to identify opportunities to reduce water consumption as staff time permits.
You can help reduce water use and keep our waterways clean by:

  • Notifying Facilities Management (extn. 6400) if you notice a water leak on campus.
  • Being mindful of water use in any lab activities.
  • Ensuring that if you are working or playing outside, that you tip any contaminated water into a sewer drain (i.e. take it to an indoor sink, or to one of the few designated wash-down drains outside). Only rainwater should flow into the "stormwater" drains in roads, carparks, and building down-pipes.

Refill your water bottle

Bottle fillers are available on drinking fountains at the following locations:

  • Central library (James Hight building), by the lifts on all levels
  • Engineering Core (outside E6)
  • Rutherford building (Chemistry/Physics), by the lifts on all levels except the ground floor
  • Science Library, by the main entrance
  • Kotuku building, in entrance foyer
  • Education library (Henry Field building), outside the NZ Room and Level 2 outside the toilet block
  • Recreation Centre 
  • Wheki building, in all main corridors
  • Haere-roa 
  • Beatrice Tinsley Bike Park (outdoor)

Download the Sustainability Pocket Map to see the most up-to-date location of campus drinking fountains.

Learn about UC's work to restore our waterways

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