Water Efficiency

Reduce potable water consumption by 10% per capita every five years

By conducting building water audits, fixing leaks and installing low-flow fixtures, the university has reduced potable water use by nearly 29% by 379 million gallons since 2015. In 2021, the university increased its reduction target to 10% from the original 5% per capita by 2025.

Home to more than 100,000 students, faculty, staff and visitors each day, Ohio State is comparable to a medium-sized city. The university uses more than 1.3 billion gallons of water per year — enough to fill Ohio Stadium more than 3.5 times. Ohio State aims to further increase water efficiency by making infrastructure improvements and reducing water consumption.

Additional accomplishments and initiatives

  • In fiscal years 2018 and 2019, the university used acoustic leak detection technology and fixed two leaks in its water main shutoff valves, resulting in an annual savings of 50 million gallons.
  • The university conducts ongoing audits of water use in 10 to 20 campus buildings per semester.
  • College of Pharmacy lab changes reduced once-through water, or water used only one time and then disposed of, resulting in a savings of 16 million gallons annually. 
  • Low-flow fixtures are being installed in restrooms across campus. Student Life replaced 4,788 showerheads and 225 faucets in the summer of 2019.
  • Continued education and communication from Facilities Operations and Development helps the campus community learn about water consumption.

Water Consumption Baseline (2015):
21,755 gallons per weighted campus user (population adjusted to how intensively community members use the campus)
Water Consumption Performance (2020):
15,478 gallons per weighted campus user
Water Consumption Goal (2025):
15,224 gallons per weighted campus user
Water Consumption Reduction (To Date): 28.9%

Take action

  • Take short showers rather than baths.
  • Install water-saving shower heads.
  • Report leaks from faucets and pipes when you see them.  
  • Run your washing machine and dishwasher only when you have full loads.
  • Avoid ice use at drink stations.