Water Conservation and Capture


As water utilities across the nation—and around the world—grapple with the consequences of climate change, we must continue to identify opportunities to ensure the resiliency and reliability of our water supply system. New York City drinking water is world-renowned for its quality. Each day, more than 1 billion gallons of fresh, clean water is delivered from large upstate reservoirs—some more than 125 miles from the City—to the taps of nine million customers throughout New York state.

Expand awareness of water usage.

  • Work with sustainability groups on campus to develop water reduction campaigns for students in residence halls.
  • Encourage students, faculty, and staff to use the campus as a living lab to drive water reduction solutions that are supported by evidence.
  • Set and then incorporate water reduction goals throughout key campus planning efforts, including campus design and development activities, establishment of landscape management practices, and procurement practices.

Explore ways to support equitable water distribution and protection of the watershed that provides NYC water.

  • Explore carbon offset opportunities to support organizations that protect farms near the watershed from development. 

In calendar year 2019-2020, spearheaded by the School of the Arts, Columbia celebrated the “Year of Water” with art exhibits, concerts, lectures, and symposia focused on the Earth's most precious resource in all of its social, political, cultural, economic, and environmental complexities. As part of this initiative, the University examined and published the relative environmental burdens of various types of water packaging options for use during Commencement, and to arm individuals, schools and departments with the information needed to make purchasing decisions. Additionally, an undergraduate student capstone looked at opportunities on campus for water reduction and suggested communications campaigns to help raise awareness among all University constituents.

CUIMC is aligned with all stated goals and strategies in this section.

LDEO is aligned with all stated goals and strategies in this section.

Topics: Water

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    Recent News: Water

    February 03, 2020

    Student Capstone Projects Explore Sustainability at Columbia

    Two student capstone projects during the Fall 2019 semester focused on assessing and improving sustainability on campus. An undergraduate Sustainable Development Workshop studied water conservation efforts at Columbia and other American universities, and the School of Professional Studies’ Master of Science in Sustainability Management Program tasked a capstone group with evaluating and advancing sustainability at Faculty House, a premier event space and campus landmark.