Water Consumption and Reuse at the University of Minnesota

River with rocks emerging from the water.

The University of Minnesota works to reduce water consumption, efficiently reuse water, and practice good stewardship of bodies of water on all campuses through stormwater best management practices, pollinator pledges, rainwater collection, rain gardens, recycled water from steam plants, plumbing upgrades, and more. 

We measure and track water consumption and reuse across the University system in order to continually improve our efforts.

Water Reuse

According to The Times Higher Ed Impact Rankings, "Water reuse is a method of recycling treated wastewater for beneficial purposes, such as agricultural and landscape irrigation, industrial processes, toilet flushing, and groundwater replenishing. Recycled/reused water can include wastewater from sinks, showers, dishwashers, and washing machines that are reused at least one time. Harvesting rainwater and using it for flushing toilets would count as water recycling / re-use." 

Water reuse occurs on the Twin Cities campus, for example, the 17th Avenue Residence Hall on East Bank has an underground cisterns that captures rainwater to be reused for flushing toilets. The campus' rainwater capture is reused for cooling tower makeup water (i.e. industrial process) and for toilet flushing. The Twin Cities campus also has a small system (70,000 gallons/year) that captures condensate water from a cooling system at the Cancer and Cardiovascular Research Building and reuses it in the cooling tower.

In FY 2022, the Twin Cities campus reused 2,625,936 gallons of stormwater and 722,000 gallons of cooling coil condensate for a total of 3,347,936 gallons.