Used Water – Collected Water = 0

BY:MOHAMMED HAMEED, SUSTAINABILITY INTERNSHIP PROGRAM, 2017

The UIC campus is spread out over the city of Chicago covering 240 acres of land. This land receives about 250 million gallons of water through precipitation (rain/snow) every year. Now, imagine if we could capture that enormous amount of water by going into the sewers and reuse it within the campus. That is the goal I am trying to accomplish this summer along with my fellow interns at the Office of Sustainability. Our first goal is to reduce the consumption of water on campus. Currently, the campus consumes about 500 million gallons of water every year. Once we manage to reduce that amount so that it equates to the amount of water received through precipitation, we reach to a point which we can call Net Zero Water- where we utilize only the amount that we receive through precipitation. Apart from saving water, our project will also help mitigate flooding and storm water runoff by retaining water on-site. This will be done by building permeable structures in the form of gardens, walkways, and parking lots. Moreover, we also plan to explore opportunities to design underground cisterns and storage vessels which can hold water and reuse it for irrigation purposes. Our goals to conserve and reuse water also help us fulfil the UIC Climate Commitment of Net Zero Water and make our campus a more sustainable and greener place to study, live, and enjoy ourselves.