This post is also available in: Español

The efficient use of water worldwide has become a crucial need to guarantee the sustainability of the water resource, considering it as a finite resource, essential for life, development and the environment, taking into account that its management should be based on a participatory approach, involving users, planners and decision makers at all levels.

Within the urban sphere, the consumption and management of water resources in educational institutions is of special interest, which, due to their size and demand for water (services, toilets, laboratories, cafeterias, irrigation and garden) are categorized as high resource consumers, in such a way that water uses in large Higher Education Institutions are similar to the uses that occur in medium-sized cities and understanding this is important to properly manage this vital resource in this type of institutions.

The six university campuses that are part of the UANL, are located in semi-arid regions, considered as areas where there is water stress. Due to this situation, UANL promotes the efficient use of water in all its facilities, through the application of policies aimed at improving the facilities and equipment used to conduct and distribute water; a permanent leak detection and control program, plus a program to raise awareness of the proper use of this vital liquid by users.

  • Implementation of an awareness program for efficient water use.
  • Installation of systems (faucets, toilet, etc.) water saving.
  • Use of treated wastewater to water gardens.
  • Leakage control program.
  • Efficient water supply program.

As a result of the actions that UANL carries out to promote the efficient and sustainable use of water on university campuses, the consumption of drinking water per capita dropped from 12.4 m3 in 2011 to 8.1 m3 in 2018. This despite the significant growth it had student enrollment during the period 2011 to 2018.

See graphics of water consumption by campus in the last four years.


Use of treated waters

Because the campuses that make up the UANL are located in areas of water stress and the growing demand for water, caused by the growth that each year its student population experiences, new ways of facing this challenge have been sought, within which They find the recovery and reuse of treated waters.

All wastewater generated in the university campuses is emptied into the wastewater collection network of Agua y Drenaje de Monterrey (decentralized public institution) which is taken to one of the four treatment plants that the institution has where 100 percent of the wastewater generated in the metropolitan area of ​​Monterrey is treated, being the only one in Mexico that has achieved and maintained this goal for 15 years.

Once the water is treated at the Monterrey Water and Drainage plants, it returns to the university campuses to be used in the form of gray water, in order to reduce the growing demand for water that is presented.

Currently, 80% of the green areas of the University City campus are irrigated with treated wastewater (gray water) which has also meant having an important impact on the care of this vital liquid, it also means significant economic savings, due to The price of treated wastewater is equivalent to 17.58% of the price of drinking water. Irrigation is done through two main distributors, the first connected to the green areas on the north side where grass-covered sports fields are mainly located and the second connected to the east side where gardens are primarily located.

  • Implementation of a water conservation program.

  • Implementation of a water recycling program.

  • Use of efficient water devices (faucets, toilet, etc.).

  • 100% wastewater disposal (sewerage).

“Zero Water Leaks in the UANL” Program

In order to combat the loss of water on the University City campus, the UANL Secretariat of Sustainability, through the Directorate of Infrastructure for Sustainability, carries out the operation of the “Zero Water Leaks in the UANL” program, aimed at locating and correcting leaks in the drinking water supply network.


Decrease of 73,000 m3 in annual water consumption due to the installation of a modulating valve in CU

Through the operation of the “Zero Water Leaks in the UANL” program, it has been possible to correct failures in the drinking water supply network, reducing consumption by around 73,000 m3 per year, which has led to savings by over $ 2,263,000.00 (MXN) in this same period of time.

The graph shows that the pressure (blue line in kilograms / square centimeters) and the monthly water consumption in cubic meters (red line in liters / seconds), suddenly decrease when the modulating valve is activated on the main supply line of University City water.

In order to further reduce water consumption, due to possible leaks or failures in the drinking water supply network, a modulating valve was placed on the main water distribution line in Ciudad Universitaria, which operates from 22: 00 hours until 5:00 hours the next day, every day, allowing to save about 200 m3 of water per day, which represents a saving of more than $ 186,000.00 (MXN) per month. The cost of the acquisition and installation of the valve mentioned above was $ 479,000.00 (MXN), with an investment return of only 2.6 months.