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 (e.g., basic and cleaning services, laboratories, cafeterias, and gardening). As a result, water consumption in large higher education institutions is similar to that of medium-sized 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 and talks at its schools and offices, together with a program of regular inspections and water system infrastructure modernization, which has allowed to detect and repair water leaks, reduce water use for sanitary services and air-conditioning systems, and replace faucets with intelligent systems that prevent spillages from irresponsible use.

 

 

As a result of the actions carried out by the UANL to promote the efficient and sustainable use of water on university campuses, drinking water consumption per capita dropped from 13.5 m3 in 2011 to 11.35 m3 in 2017. This despite the significant growth that had student enrollment during the period 2011 to 2017.

See graphs of water consumption per campus in the last three years.

Waste Water Treatment

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 experienced each year by its student population, have sought new ways to face this challenge, within which are the recovery and reuse of treated water.

All the wastewater that is generated in the university campuses is emptied into the net of sewage collection of Agua y Drenaje de Monterrey I.P.D. (Decentralized Public Institution) which are taken to one of the four treatment plants that this institution has, where 100 percent of the wastewater generated in the Monterrey’s metropolitan area is treated, being the only one in Mexico that has reached and maintained this goal over more than 15 years. Once the water is treated at the Agua y Drenaje de Monterrey plants, it returns to the university campus to be used in the form of gray water, in order to diminish the growing demand for water that presents itself.

The 100% of the green areas of the Ciudad Universitaria campus are irrigated with treated wastewater (gray water) which has meant besides having an important impact in the care of this vital liquid, also means significant economic savings, because the price of treated wastewater it is equivalent to 18% of the price of drinking water.

  • Implementation of a water conservation program.
  • Implementation of a water recycling program.
  • Use of efficient water devices (water taps, toilet, etc.).
  • 100% Disposal of wastewater (sewage).
  • 100% Consumption of treated water.

See graphs of water consumption per campus in the last three years.

Program “Elimination of Water Leaks at the UC”

In order to combat the loss of water on the University campus, the UANL Sustainability Department, through the Infrastructure Office for Sustainability, carries out the operation of the Leakage Elimination program at the UC, aimed at locating and correcting leaks in the drinking water supply network.