New rainwater harvesting at the Wildlife Sanctuary

Plumbing works have recently been completed at the Wildlife Sanctuary to enable the nine toilets located at the site to be flushed with rainwater captured on the roof of the main office building.

The rainwater is stored in three 5,000 Litre tanks adjacent to the southern end of the building and the system is expected to save around 75,000 litres of potable (mains) water each year. This is roughly equivalent to the amount of water you’d use if you took a shower that lasted for 6 days straight!

Rainwater pumped from the tanks to the toilets is monitored via a meter which is integrated into La Trobe’s energy and water monitoring system. This data will be presented with other relevant building energy and water use data in an information display accessible to Sanctuary visitors as a sustainability education tool.

The new system at the Wildlife Sanctuary builds on the other rainwater harvesting already occurring on the Melbourne Campus, which includes systems feeding toilets at LIMS1, Sylvia Walton, John Scott Meeting House and Biological Science 2.

The Melbourne Campus also features large bodies of surface water in The Moat system, into which stormwater is directed and extracted from. La Trobe maintains a ‘Take and Use’ licence with Melbourne Water which enables the use of stormwater stored in the Moat for landscape irrigation and use in cooling towers. The use of stormwater in this way allowed La Trobe to avoid the consumption of an additional 50 Megalitres of potable (mains/drinking) water in 2017, which is equivalent to the volume of water required to fill approximately 20 Olympic sized swimming pools.

Maximising the capture and use of rainwater is one of a number of actions the University is taking to reduce the impact of its operations on the environment. For more information on how La Trobe is improving its environmental performance, visit www.latrobe.edu.au/sustainability or to play your part, take a pledge to reduce your own actions on campus and at home.