Over the next four years, the focus will be on fully reviewing and implementing the Water Management Plans for each campus.

The University is a significant consumer of water in Melbourne, using 447,000 kilolitres of mains water in 2015. The Water Management Plans cover water conservation, distribution, harvesting, measurement, and quality. An important first step will be to implement an appropriate metering and monitoring system to enable data capture and inform decision-making.

Priority Actions

  • Complete annual report and review of Water Management Plans for each campus
  • Commission the existing Parkville purple pipe1 network to facilitate use of harvested water
  • Implement infrastructure to monitor all harvested water usage

The University has obligations to water authorities and participates actively as a key stakeholder in voluntary collaborative programs and initiatives.

  • Obligations as a customer in City West Water’s Customer Charter, and other Water Authority requirements, as applicable
  • Obligations with respect to trade waste discharges from sites are outlined in the Trade Waste Customer Charter
  • The University is a key stakeholder in the City of Melbourne Elizabeth Street Catchment Integrated Water Cycle Management (IWCM) Plan


Reduce mains water usage by floor area by 12% from 2015 baseline by 20202. This is equivalent to a reduction from our original 2006 baseline (see past targets at end of page).

Key targets of the The Elizabeth Street Catchment IWCM Plan

  1. To reduce the Catchment’s Flood Risk rating from Extreme to High
  2. Increase alternative water use to 8% for all municipal water by 2018, and 20% by 2030
  3. To increase open space and areas of unsealed soil by 40% by 2030 (baseline year 2014)
  4. Improve water quality through a 20% reduction in Total Nitrogen contributed to the waterways by 2018, and 30% by 2030 (baseline year 2000)
  5. Increase canopy cover to 40% across the Catchment by 2040
Parkville Campus and Elizabeth St Catchment
Parkville Campus as part of the City of Melbourne suburbs and Elizabeth St Catchment (CoM 2015)
  • Past Water Initiatives

    Grounds Initiatives

    • Continued installation of drip irrigation lines
    • Reduced irrigation schedules (times and volumes);
    • Enhanced automation of irrigation control systems;
    • 1000m3 mulching of trees and garden beds (at Feb 2009);
    • Increase number of drought tolerant plants within the University grounds;
    • Installation of draught tolerant grass on the main sports oval, Parkville Campus;
    • Installation of roof water retention tanks, Creswick and Burnley Campuses;
    • Installation of a rain garden to capture and treat local stormwater run off, Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) Campus;
    • Decommissioning of water features; and
    • Leak detection field monitoring at the Parkville campus.

    Building Initiatives

    • reduced operating schedules of mechanical services equipment;
    • vacuum pump replacement;
    • installation of flow restrictors on taps;
    • dual flush toilets and flusher systems upgrades
    • Water restricting tap wear fitting in numerous bathrooms across the campus.
    • Sensor activated and waterless urinals have been installed in some buildings, and;
    • meter installation program.

    The meter installation program has commenced in conjunction with the existing Building Automation Systems (BAS) upgrade program.

  • Past Water Targets
    • Meet water reduction target of 10% less than the 2006 Baseline year of 443 MI
    • Consumption to be less than 400 MI per annum
    • Reduce water consumption through continued infrastructure upgrade.
    • Report water usage performance indicator, kL/m2 GFA

What you can dowater

  • Always turn off running taps
  • Use a reusable water bottle and fill it up at one of our drinking water fountains.
  • Report a maintenance issues such as a dripping tap:
    Urgent or emergency requests (action required in under 2 days) call Asset Services Call Centre on 8344 6000.
  • Action not required within 2 days. Ask your department's authorised BEIMS user, or your Building Supervisor, to log a maintenance request with Property and Campus Services using the Service Request System.
  • Report a Sustainability Improvement Opportunity
    Please let us know your ideas and observations about sustainability opportunities in the University environment around you. Contact us at sustainable-campus@unimelb.edu.au.

Drinking Water Fountains

Additional internal and external water fountains have been installed around the Parkville and Southbank campus to minimise the purchase of bottled water by providing staff and students with easily accessible locations to refill their reusable drink bottles.

The University of Melbourne 2017, Sustainability Plan, p.12

Laidlaw B, Lopez Coronado J A D, & Zhong L 2017, Water Catchment Precinct Plan, p.6

1. The ‘purple pipe’ is installed along the Parkville fire ring main to enable distribution of captured water across the campus

2. The 2015 baseline is 0.53 kilolitres per square metre of external gross floor area (kL/m2 GFA). The 2020 target is equivalent to a 40% reduction in mains water usage from the original 2006 baseline of 0.78 kL/m2 GFA