RMIT Water Management

RMIT University actively promotes the efficient use of water and the maximisation of water reuse across the University.

Promoting efficient use of water

The RMIT Sustainability Policy provides the guiding principle to minimise the consumption of resources through good design and reuse. Our sustainability policy drives our sustainability strategy and our environmental management system – The Property Services Environmental Management System was certified to ISO 14001 in 2019.

RMIT also actively promotes conscious water usage through messaging to the community such as sustainability campaigns promoting sustainable water use in our campus and in the wider community and encouraging people to report dripping taps and toilets.

Additionally, RMIT has a total of 40 smart meter water monitoring devices installed across the building portfolio, giving visibility to consumption profiles. In 2020, the University installed a total of 524 sensors to existing bathroom taps, as part of the University response to COVID in reducing the number of touch points in high traffic locations. This project also reduced the consumption of potable water as the efficient taps are on for a shorter period of time.

In total RMIT has installed over 1,500 water-efficient fixtures and fittings throughout our buildings, including taps, dual-flush toilets, low flow shower heads and kitchen sprays.

Photo of a person outside watering plants. Plants are sitting under a white knitted shade, elevated above the ground. Person is wearing a large-brimmed hat, black and white striped shirt and black gloves.

Measuring water use across the university

In 2020, RMIT University consumed a total of 136,265 litres of potable water in higher education operations, a decrease of 39% from 2019 (186,824,000 litres). The total volume of potable water is measured using water supply authority meters installed across all RMIT sites and provided to the University through regular invoicing and a robust real time water management system (Envizi).

RMIT has a total of 1,278,000 litres of rainwater and stormwater tanks installed across the campuses providing water for toilet flushing and irrigation purposes. RMIT only extracts water from a stormwater catchment pond at the Bundoora campus. This pond provides 1,350,000 litres of in-situ storage. RMIT sustainably extracts water from the catchment pond for irrigation purposes throughout the campus, reducing the requirements for potable water use. These initiatives provide RMIT an estimated 12,000,000 litres of water reuse every year.

Chart showing RMIT water use intensity between 2016 and 2020. In 2016 and 2017, RMIT measured 5.33 kL/EFTSL, in 2018, it measured 4.63 kL/EFTSL, In 2019, 4.27 kL/EFTSL and in 2020, 2.72 kL/EFTSL.
Photo of large water tanks. Tanks are sitting outside in an open outdoor area. Trees are surrounding them in the background. A dirt track is going from left to right in the foreground.

Wastewater treatment and preventing water system pollution

100% of RMIT's waste water is treated. All three Melbourne RMIT campuses are connected to the Central Business District grid and all waste water is collected and treated by The Melbourne Water, which is the local water authority, and the 3 metropolitan water retailers operating in Melbourne (Greater Western Water, Yarra Valley Water and South East Water).

Important to mention that there are also stormwater pits and greased traps installed at all RMIT campuses to avoid water pollution. Additionally, RMIT has developed its Hazardous Building Materials Management Plan for the management of hazardous building materials identified within the Australian property portfolio. This plan assists RMIT with managing hazardous materials related to health and environmental risks, including spillage of hazardous materials with potential to affect water quality - e.g. Lead-containing paint (LCP) and Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), the Management Plan has a process for both disposal and emergency exposures/spills. In addition to this the OHSE Booklet for Contractors covers the process for reporting of environmental incidents, hazards and the management of chemicals and solvents by Contractors all which if managed incorrectly have the potential to affect water quality.

Water conscious planting

The University applies water conscious planting through the selection of drought tolerant planting in the urban environment. A recent example is the New Academic Street project which features two new rooftop garden terraces extensively planted in drought tolerant evergreen plants such as low ferns, bamboos and flowering groundcover. These require minimal water to maintain, reduce the urban heat island effect and provide relaxing areas for the RMIT community.

RMIT also encourages the use of indigenous plant species, which are drought tolerant plants to minimise water usage. For example the Keelbundoora Scarred Trees and Heritage Trail green spaces located at the RMIT Bundoora campus.

Free drinking water

RMIT has 117 drinking fountains across our campus and an estimated 187 refill taps in kitchens and kitchenettes, providing students, staff and visitors with free drinking water.

RMIT developed a free navigation app (RMIT Navigation) that provides a list of the water fountains available in our campuses by building for students and staff. A Navigation webpage is also available for students, staff and members of the community to identify water fountains located at RMIT campuses.

Photo of an outdoor sign that says 'Free water". The sign has two metal rods coming out the right hand side, where the water is released.

Water-conscious building standards

RMIT uses the Design Standards to drive decision making around water efficiency. Including setting minimum standards fixtures, water capture and storage and water sensitive urban design in landscaping .Our Design Standards promotes innovation in design and actively promotes sustainable building principles, including water efficiency.

The purpose of the Design Standards is to set out RMIT’s expectations for the operability serviceability, maintainability and aesthetic approach of built environments across all RMIT University campuses. The Design Standards includes RMIT’s social and cultural expectations, through urban design and planning, architectural and engineering design requirements, Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S), Access for People with a Disability and Sustainability.

See the Sustainability Annual Report for more information about our sustainability performance.

This project addresses the following Sustainable Development Goals and Targets:

6.1 By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all

6.4 By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency

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Get in touch

For more information or to discuss partnership and collaboration opportunities, email us at SDGs@rmit.edu.au.

For more information about RMIT’s sustainability commitments and activities visit www.rmit.edu.au/sustainability

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.