Managing water consumption on campus in a drought-prone country is imperative to ensure the University can maintain its extensively landscaped campus and minimise the loss of trees during water restrictions.

ANU is one of the largest water users in the ACT, consuming approximately 556,412 kilolitres of water in 2014.


To reduce potable water consumption and eliminate it from landscape irrigation.


  • Reduce per capita water use 50 per cent by 2020
  • Reduce potable water use by 50 per cent by 2020
  • Eliminate potable water from landscape irrigation


  • using treated effluent to irrigate sports ovals and University Avenue
  • installing 14 rainwater tanks with a total capacity of 1.6 million litres
  • using native plants and drought tolerant lawn species
  • installing two process cooling units in Research Schools with an annual saving of more than 39 million litres
  • increase the water-efficiency of infrastructure through sustainable design and water-saving upgrades
  • behavioural change programs to reduce water consumption in buildings, in particular labs and student accommodation
  • increasing the capacity to capture and store stormwater and rooftop rainwater for use in research labs, toilets and landscape
  • reduce the demand for water in the landscape through planting drought-tolerant plants, converting sportsgrounds to synthetic turf and removing local irrigation systems for established gardens
  • treating and recycling waste-water for irrigating the landscape


Since 2006 total potable water use has declined by 26.7 per cent, and per capita water use has nearly halved.