College Water Efficiency Group

College Graphic

The College Water Efficiency group was formed in 2012 with a goal to learn technology, explore and share ideas of actual projects completed on college campuses (case studies) to reduce water use. The case studies are on a broad range of topics for both indoor and outdoor uses from landscape, water-energy programs, application and benefit of using GIS mapping, water and energy reductions from tray-less dining, to fixture retrofits (toilets, urinals, showerheads, faucets) and even campus water action plans, and campus water shortage management planning.

The group is unique in that it includes not only university members, but also water utility and electric utility as well as industry and consultant representatives. With all key parties represented it allows open communication and flow of ideas on how to create successful projects including actual technology installations and retrofits and funding mechanisms.

Over the past five years group has grown to over 120 members in 11 states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Montana, New York, North Carolina, and Texas). The group meets every other month for 1 hour via phone conference call.  If you are a university (public, private or community college), water utility, or energy utility, or a consultant and are interested in joining please contact Michelle Maddaus at Maddaus Water Management to obtain information about the group. 

The group focuses on three main areas:

1. Implementation:

  • Overcome past struggles with efficiency projects on campuses
  • No single dedicated campus position for water resources; disparate responsibilities for campus activities related to water resources
  • Water projects typically had a long payback for campuses with low water rates but that is changing as water rates are rising and some technology costs are coming down
  • Adjusting attitudes and behaviors:
    • Overcoming mentality “Water is too cheap!” (and therefore not valuable)
    • Overcoming the idea “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.”
  • Making it a priority for management staff (getting “buy in”)
  • Lack of accurate campus fixture data / Lack of water meters
  • Learn / share ideas on successfully implementation
  • Verify and test water efficient technology – verify product saves water & works well in a campus setting

2. Water Savings:

  • Be resource efficient and optimize available water supplies
  • Reach individual campus goals to reduce water use

3. Funding:

  • Typically no dedicated funding source for water conservation projects
  • As a group help gain support by showing that conservation is a good & sustainable idea, and “proving it”
  • Potential for combined funding / grant / rebate / bulk purchases
  • Get the most savings for the fewest dollars
  • Desire to use student & tax payer dollars wisely

Want more information now?! Click to download a May 2017 PowerPoint presenting an overview of the group.