While Ohio is a water-rich state, it is important to encourage a positive water ethic within the university community. Many regions already experience water shortages, which will grow more intense and spread to more regions as climate change takes hold. With more than 100,000 students, faculty, staff and visitors each day, Ohio State is comparable to a medium-sized city and uses more than one billion gallons of water per year. Implementing successful water management here can help other entities discover pathways to their own water conservation goals.
By conducting building water audits, fixing leaks and installing low-flow fixtures, the university has reduced potable water use by 390 million gallons since 2015 (27.6% reduction). This saves the university over $1.75 million in annual water purchase and related sanitary sewer use costs. Due to this success, in 2021, the university increased its water reduction target to 10% from the original 5% per capita by 2025.
Current goal achievement and initiatives
- Water Efficiency Improvement (since 2020 baseline): 4%
- 2023 water use per capita: 15,995 gallons
- 257 million gallon decrease from 2015
- The university’s Sustainable Design and Construction policy includes water use intensity targets by building type for enhanced conservation in large university facilities.
- FOD continues to address aging infrastructure with replacement projects and scheduled leak detection surveys.