This post is also available in: Español

The world’s efficient use of water has become a critical necessity to guarantee the sustainability of this finite resource, which is essential for life and the environment. Therefore, its management should focus on the cooperation between users, planners, and people in charge of decision-making processes at all hierarchical levels.

Regarding urban areas, water use and management in educational institutions is of particular concern since they are large consumers due to their size and demand (basic and cleaning services, laboratories, cafeterias, and gardening). As a result, water consumption in large higher education institutions is similar to that of medium-size cities. Understanding such reality is important to undertake a proper management of this resource at schools and colleges.

The six UANL campuses are located across semi-arid areas that are deemed water stressed. In order to address this problem, UANL has implemented institutional policies on efficient water consumption by means of awareness programs its schools and offices, together with a program of regular inspections and water system modernization, which has allowed to detect and fix leaks.

  • Policies on water system modernization
  • Use of water-efficient devices such as dual-flush toilets and low flow faucets
  • Maintenance program to detect and repair leaks
  • Use of wastewater
  • Awareness program of efficient water use

Thanks to these encouragement actions on the sustainable and efficient use of water, per capita consumption at UANL decreased from 12.4 cubic meters in 2011 to 7.7 cubic meters in 2019, despite the fact that UANL has experienced an increase in enrollment during the same period.

See graphs of water consumption over the last four years.

 

Water Use

Since UANL campuses are located in water-stressed regions and due to the water demand of our increasing student community, our university has developed strategies to face this challenge such as wastewater treatment and reuse.

Wastewater from all UANL campuses is discharged into the sewer system of the Monterrey Department of Water and Sewerage. The wastewater then travels to one of the four treatment plants of said department. Once there, the totality of the wastewater is treated, making the Monterrey Department of Water and Sewerage the only public institution in Mexico to achieve this during the last 15 years.

The treated wastewater travels back to the UANL campuses to be used as gray water in order to mitigate the increasing water demand.

Currently, all the green areas of our Main Campus are irrigated with treated wastewater, which has a significantly positive impact on the environment and UANL’s economy since treated wastewater costs almost six times more than safe water. Treated wastewater is irrigated through two main systems: the first one is located at the north of the university and irrigates the sports fields; the second one is located at the east and irrigates the gardens.

  • Water conservation program
  • Water recycling program
  • Use of water-efficient devices such as dual-flush toilets and low flow faucets
  • Reuse of the totality of UANL’s wastewater

Water Leakage Prevention and Monitoring Program

In order to fight water waste at the Main Campus, the Vice Presidency of Sustainability and the Department of Infrastructure for Sustainability implemented the Water Leakage Prevention and Monitoring Program to detect and fix leaks in the water supply system.

 

UANL accomplished a decrease of 63,881 cubic meters in annual water consumption due to the installation of a modulating control valve in its Main Campus.

Thanks to this program, UANL has fixed leaks in the water supply system, reducing consumption by around 63,881 cubic meters a year, which has resulted in more than $1.9 million pesos in savings during the same period.