Student filling a UVic reusable water bottle at a refill station
Bring your reusable bottle to campus for easy refilling at the Waterfillz and Refill Stations.

UVic continues to work towards water use reduction, recovery, and stewardship practices. Our 2020-2021 Sustainability Action Plan goals are:

  • Goal 1: Determine the causes of increased water usage in 2018 and 2019.
  • Goal 2: Retrofit 25 water fountains in campus buildings for easy refilling of personal water bottles.

Adjustments to UVic’s campus to reduce water consumption include water recovery and reuse initiatives, upgrades to plumbing fixtures, fittings, appliances, equipment and systems with water-efficient alternatives.

The University receives water from the municipal Districts of Saanich and Oak Bay and does not extract water from the ground or other sources on or around campus grounds.

Natural waterways on campus

The University of Victoria takes great pride in its role as a guardian of Bowker Creek's headwaters within a heavily urbanized environment. This area, the largest open space in the entire watershed, serves a multifaceted purpose, functioning as a vital wildlife habitat, a reservoir for rainwater storage, and a place for both recreation and education for students, faculty, staff, and the broader community.

Aligned with the plan Landscape Plan and Design Guidelines, and influenced by LEED building design principles, the university is actively working to diminish the extent of impermeable surfaces on its campus and limit runoff by employing permeable paving and adopting green building designs. These sustainable features, guided by LEED standards, contribute to enhancing the watershed's capacity to withstand the anticipated effects of climate change in the region.

Furthermore, the university is committed to preserving the ecological diversity of the natural areas on its campus. This commitment is achieved by prioritizing invasive species removal with the assistance of the Greater Victoria Green Team and by implementing an Integrated Pest Management Plan to control invasive species. Additionally, the university incorporates native vegetation into landscaping practices.

Water refill taps 

UVic is upgrading water fountains across campus classroom buildings, and in food service areas for easy refilling of cups or personal water bottles. So far, we've retrofitted or installed  over 80 water fountains with refill taps and have targeted an additional 25 retrofits for the 2020-2021. 

Water refill taps are located in high traffic areas, often near washrooms. 

Check out this map of water refill taps across campus! 


Working together to conserve water, on and off campus

Campus water reduction strategies

A water conservation program continually strives to implement efficient water systems across campus. This includes projects to replacing fixtures with low flow units, and elimination of ‘once-through’ water cooling systems.

We've completed several water reduction initiatives, some of the highlights include: 

  • Installing sensor faucets and low-flow toilets; 
  • Reducing irrigation during summer months; 
  • Development of an Integrated Stormwater Management Plan; 
  • A treated waste water system to recycle water from the Outdoor Aquatic Facility through toilets and urinals in six campus buildings; and, 
  • Replacement of water aspirators with portable electric vacuum pumps in the chemistry labs. 


The Waterfillz is UVic's portable water bottle filling station. It provides an accessible alternative to purchasing bottled water during the semester and at sporting events, conferences, and campus functions.

During the year, the Waterfillz is located in the Quad. If you would like to use the Waterfillz station at your next UVic campus outdoor event, contact Outdoor Bookings at outdoorbookings@uvic.ca

Easy tips to save water on and off campus

Did you know that BC contains 25% of the fresh water flowing in Canada? While this may seem like an abundance of water, the increase of population growth, industry, agriculture, and climate change impacts are placing significant pressure on the province's water supply. 

Snowmelt and rainfall contribute to the water supply across the province but precipitation is limited during the summer months. As a result of insufficient snow accumulation, hot and dry weather, or a delay in rainfall, summer droughts in BC have led to water shortages throughout the summer. 

Water conservation is crucial, not only during droughts but year-round. Here are a few easy ways that you can conserve water to save money and help protect our natural resources: 

  1. Take shorter showers (the recommended length of a shower is 5 minutes)
  2. Have a shower bucket to save water for future use
  3. Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth, washing your hands, and washing the dishes 
  4. Only run the dishwasher or washing machine when you have a full load
  5. Install water-saving shower heads and aerators
  6. Wash laundry in cold water
  7. Invest in a low flow toilet or a conversion kit or toilet tank banck on your existing toilet
  8. Use a rain barrel for watering plants
  9. Limit outdoor watering during the summer months
  10. Fix leaks from your pipes and faucets 
  11. Monitor your water usage and track your energy-saving hot water habits using MyHydro
  12. Share your water conservation strategies with your neighbours, friends, family, and coworkers
Learn more about how to save energy with water from BC Hydro.

Water guidelines and standards

Grey water from the Outdoor Aquatic Unit is distributed to buildings over campus as non-potable water used for toilets and urinals. UVic Facilities Management has been installing meters to digitally measure the reuse of water on campus, including the Outdoor Aquatic Unit.

The University’s water discharge guidelines and standards are regulated by the Capital Regional District (CRD), the District of Saanich, and the District of Oak Bay.

  • The Capital Regional District (CRD) regulates non-domestic waste for the whole region under the Sewer Use Bylaw. There are many facilities at UVic that fall under the Codes of Practice in this bylaw, including all Food Service Operations, McKinnon Pool, the ice rink at Ian Stewart Complex, and laboratories. In addition, the Outdoor Aquatic Facility has a Permit with the CRD to discharge water to the sanitary sewer.
  • The District of Saanich has the Sanitary Sewer Bylaw which includes information on billing structure and contains parts of the CRD Sanitary Sewer Bylaw and the Watercourse and Drainage Regulation which covers storm water and surface water flows.
  • Oak Bay’s Public Sewer Bylaw provides sanitary sewer and storm water guidelines and standards. 

The University of Victoria is also a partner in the Bowker Creek Initiative and steward of the headwaters.  Guided by the Integrated Stormwater Management Plan, UVic continues to reduce the amount of impervious surfaces on campus and minimize runoff to help increase the resilience of the Bowker Creek watershed. 

Tracking our use

UVic measures and tracks the volume of water used by the university and reports this every three years in the STARS report (The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System). For the most recently reported figures please see the 2020 Report here. The next report is expected to be submitted in the fall of 2023.