We are working to use water effectively and to protect our natural waterways. We are also committed to making drinking water accessible.

We want to create a campus that uses water from the environment responsibly and provides accessible water options to the campus community. Our vision is to use no more water than the amount of precipitation that naturally falls on campus and encourage the use of grey water instead of potable water when possible.

All of the water used on campus comes from City of Ottawa water network, and is not extracted from aquifers or rivers. The University strictly monitors its waste water to ensure that it is not polluting any natural water sources. 


  • The University of Ottawa was one of the first universities in Canada to ban bottled water on its campus.
  • In 2022, the University of Ottawa consumed 431,998 cubic metres of water (a 27% reduction since 2010).
  • In 2022, the amount of water consumed per person on campus was 9.25 litres/person
Annual volume of water consumption in cubic metres
2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
444,995 m3 453,957 m3 455,377 m3 518,167 m3 538,933 m3 552,885 m3 486,931 m3 391,748 m3 431,998 m3

Water saving tips

When it comes to water, every drop counts. Check out some of our conscious water usage tips.

Report Leaks and Drips
Whenever you see a leak or a drip, report it right away. Did you know you can report leaks or drips on social media? You can send us a tweet with a picture or location of the drip @uOttawaSustain.

Don’t Let the Water Run
Turn off the tap in between washing your hands or brushing your teeth.

For more tips, please check out our Sustainability Tips page.

Bottled Water Free Campus

The University of Ottawa was the first institution in Ontario to become a bottled water free campus. Although there are many environmental benefits to reducing the resources required to bottle water, there are also social benefits to increasing the affordability and access to water. Other environmental issues include:
- the emissions created to transport the bottles to campus;
- the electricity required to power vending machines;
- and, the energy required to recycled used disposable bottles.
An empty plastic water bottle

Bottled Water at uOttawa

In 2010, the University of Ottawa became the first bottled water free campus in Ontario. Working with the Student Union and Food Services, the campus was able to ban the sale of bottled water and bring awareness about water access issues to the campus. To ensure that the campus community still had access to free water, Facilities Service installed water fountains all over the campus. Each year, the Office of Campus Sustainability does audits of the campus water fountain network to ensure it is operating at the highest quality.

Water fountain at uOttawa

Water Fountain Renewal

A pivotal part of being a bottled water free campus is the constant revitalization of the drinking fountains on campus. The Facilities and Sustainability team, as the stewards of the water infrastructure network on campus, undertake the task of surveying all the water fountains on campus every year, repairing those in bad condition, and installing new ones where appropriate.

Every year, the University invests in improving and adding new fountains on campus. The objective of this renewal is to increase drinking water quality and accessibility. 

Check our annual reports for more information.

Celeste DiGiovanni, a student and founder of the H2Ottawa project holds her water bottle in front of the living wall in the FSS building

H2Ottawa Revives Bottled Water Free

In 2018, Celeste DiGiovanni, a student at the uOttawa School of Sociological and Anthropological Studies, helped revitalize the bottled water free campaign by convincing the University to install reusable water bottles in vending machines. The project, called H2Ottawa, helps reduce plastic, privatize less water, and make a statement about water as a human right.

Campus green space with shrubs and trees along a sidewalk

Storm water management

In order to reduce the University’s impact on surrounding communities, uOttawa actively engages in bio swales to filter rainwater as well as rain water collection.

Fish in an aquarium at uOttawa

Water reuse

Water Recirculation
The University's Aquatic Care Centre reduces water consumption by employing a recirculating aquaculture system along with traditional flow-through aquaculture systems.

Condensate Recovery
The University of Ottawa recovers water created from condensation to reduce consumption.

A tap at uOttawa dripping

Low flow fixtures

Any new water fixtures installed on campus are low flow. These fixtures use significantly less water and are installed all over the campus (faucets, toilets, and urinals).

Irrigation system watering grass

Low and no irrigation

The University of Ottawa does not install automated irrigation systems on campus as its standard practice. Instead, the University focuses on using native and drought tolerant plant species.

large plastic water jugs

Off-campus water conservation programs

uOttawa participates in "Let’s Talk Science", an award-winning, national, charitable organization focused on education and outreach to support youth development. Workshops related to water conservation and protection are offered to secondary school students to help them learn about the amazing aquatic environments around us.