Thompson Rivers University

TRU champions water conservation

July 18, 2023

With water scarcity becoming an increasingly critical issue, institutions and individuals are stepping up to the challenge of conserving this precious resource. Thompson Rivers University (TRU) has taken significant steps to conserve water on campus while prioritizing sustainability and environmental stewardship. In alignment with its five-year Campus Strategic Sustainability Plan (CSSP), TRU is minimizing water waste and reducing water use.

Water conservation is a key priority in the CSSP. All water on campus is potable, meaning it’s safe and suitable for human consumption. The university recognizes the importance of using potable water responsibly and strives to minimize waste in every way possible.

Minimizing water waste

To promote water-saving practices, TRU has taken several measures throughout its facilities. About 75 per cent of the faucets on campus are equipped with no-touch technology to ensure water is only used when needed. Eliminating the need to manually turn off taps saves water.

Low-flow technology has been incorporated into 65 per cent of campus toilets. These water-efficient fixtures use significantly less water per flush, reducing overall water consumption without compromising function. This has saved a substantial amount of water and made a positive impact on the university’s environmental footprint.

Balancing aesthetics and conservation

In addition to these water-saving measures, TRU has embraced sustainable landscaping practices. The university mostly plants native species in landscaping projects and prioritizes tree mulching to retain moisture and protect the soil from evaporation. Choosing plants well-suited to the local climate and require minimal water significantly reduces irrigation. This approach not only conserves water, but supports the natural biodiversity of the region while maintaining a beautiful campus environment.

Leading sustainable practices

TRU’s water conservation efforts have not gone unnoticed. The university is the first in Canada to twice earn a platinum STARS rating. STARS — the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System — measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education. TRU’s platinum rating showcases its exemplary performance in sustainability practices, including water conservation.

James Gordon, manager of Sustainability Programs, says the university takes pride in its sustainability achievements.

“We understand the importance of preserving our natural resources. We can all make individual choices, big and small, to avoid wasting water unnecessarily. By conserving water, we’re not only ensuring a sustainable future for our campus but also taking a responsible approach to our regional and global water challenges. We hope that our efforts inspire others to follow suit and make a positive impact,” he says.

A community of conservation

To encourage water conservation, TRU emphasizes individual responsibility and behaviour change within its campus community. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to adopt water-saving habits in their daily routines. By fostering a culture of sustainability, TRU aims to instil awareness and habits that last a lifetime and make a difference.

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