Though not a focus of many Climate Action Plans, water is included in the UNCG Climate Action Plan (CAP) for several reasons. Water resources are projected to become scarcer as consumption grows in concert with the population of the Triad; droughts are also projected to be more frequency in the region due to the effects of climate change. Supplying water also has its own, albeit small, climate footprint. Though these emissions represent only a small portion of UNCG’s emissions profile, the entire climate impact is not captured in this analysis, including emissions from the energy needed to pump water to campus and treat wastewater. Water consumption at UNCG has decreased over 63% since 2003, and the University will continue to implement the strategies that have proven successful over the last decade, including the leak detection and repair program and installation of water efficient fixtures. Longer term ideas within the CAP include installation of water capture and reuse infrastructure, expansion of xeriscaping, and perhaps building living machines to capture and treat wastewater on site.
Since 2003, the University has avoided over $13 million in costs through technology and maintenance programs. Below is a graph illustrating UNCG Water Consumption and Avoided Costs as well as some examples of the University’s past, present, and future initiatives.