Approximately three billion litres of potable water are consumed at UBC a year – enough to fill 1,200 Olympic-sized swimming pools – for building operations, research, residential and irrigation purposes.
Despite continued campus growth, we have steadily decreased water consumption through infrastructure improvements and improving water efficiency in existing and new buildings.


  • Completed the majority of the Academic District Energy System steam to hot water conversion project, which is expected to result in 136 million litres of water savings per year by the 2017-18 fiscal year.
  • Upgraded campus irrigation systems with 70 rain sensors to reduce irrigation water consumption, expected to result in over 4 million litres of water savings in 2016.
  • Demonstrated a reduction in water use of 30 per cent during regional water restrictions in the summer of 2015.
  • Continued to audit existing buildings for water conservation opportunities, and implemented retrofits such as updating old urinals, which is expected to save 53 million litres per year in water consumption.


  • Installed a stormwater detention tank to deal with runoff from the diesel transit loop attached to the new Aquatic Centre.
  • Continued implementation of the integrated stormwater management plan and actively promote sustainable best practices for stormwater management as well as planning for more natural systems in future development areas.
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UBC Okanagan’s building operations, research, residences and irrigation requirements led to the consumption of over 172,000 m3 of water in 2015. Although regional precipitation levels increased slightly over the previous year, the environmental impacts of intense rainfall and water scarcity remain at the forefront of the future campus development and water management planning. Future strategies are currently under development to support the implementation of the completed Whole Systems Infrastructure Plan.


  • Conducted improvements to building water efficiencies through routine maintenance and upgrades to water fixtures at the end of life and where renovations were
  • Continued to incorporate native, drought tolerant species of vegetation into the campus landscape.
  • Began phase two of the three-year irrigation improvement project that anticipates significant improvements to irrigation efficiency, water conservation and associated costs.
  • Conducted area management work around the retention pond to ensure efficient diversion and capture of campus rain water from the municipal storm water system is maintained. Implemented precautions to reduce area disturbance of naturally formed wet lands, which support the campus’ ecosystem and developing biodiversity.
    • Initialized development of Integrated Storm Water Management Plan which will aid in the mitigation of risk associated with climate change and support the campus’ ecological landscape and biodiversity goals, a key recommendation identified to within the Whole Systems Infrastructure Plan.
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