The Trent Building is lit up in blue

March 22, 2019, by Rob Ounsworth

World Water Day: our commitment to securing this priceless global resource for all

The University of Nottingham’s iconic Trent Building will be lit up in blue on the evening of 22 March – to mark World Water Day.

This highlights our commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, writes Dr Rachel Gomes of the Faculty of Engineering and head of the interdisciplinary Food, Water, Waste Research Group, which aims to deliver sustainable, resilient solutions to global challenges in the areas of food, water and resource security.

The theme of World Water Day 2019 is water for all, leaving no one behind. Water is our global currency. Access to clean water is a human right, but one denied to billions of people. At Nottingham, we are committed to discovering and delivering solutions that address this complex challenge.

We have a growing water research network of 125 academics across all five faculties. Through transdisciplinary research, we are bringing together our engineers, scientists, geographers, historians, health experts and many more, to pioneer new ways that ensure every person on our planet has access to the water they need to thrive.

Projects from the water research network include exploring the impact of user behaviour on wastewater constituents (Engineering and Mathematical Sciences) and water treatment. Other research projects include water resilience and food security in Ghana (Professor Simon Avery, Life Sciences); and assessment of soils, foods and water around Kilembe copper mine, Western Uganda (Dr Scott Young, Biosciences).

In January 2019, the water research network hosted its first internal Water Research Conference, which highlighted our strengths in this area and was attended by 63 academics, from all five faculties.

Water Research Conference

Professor Sarah Metcalfe (Lead for the Developing Sustainable Societies Global Research Theme) provided an overview of the importance of water research; we outlined the University’s current water capabilities and investment in growing the water community; and colleagues from Research and Innovation, including Dr Liz French (Head of Strategy, Policy, Performance and Impact), shared UK and international funding opportunities for water research.

We will be hosting a Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) themed water workshop on 17 April, aimed at academic staff with an interest in water research.  There will be an opportunity to:

  1. Network with colleagues from across the institution interested in water-related research
  2. Share GCRF opportunities and intelligence
  3. Discuss potential future GCRF projects
  4. Capture our strengths, competitors and unique selling point

To register, please click on this link.

Water capabilities at Nottingham

Water capabilties at Nottingham

Instagram competition #WorldWaterDay

The Estates team are marking World Water Day by hosting an Instagram competition.

To win a stylish water bottle, please post novel and interesting ways of you saving water with the hashtag #WorldWaterDay and tag @uonsustainability

The winner will be announced on Monday 25 March.

Our University’s water commitment

Water is not just about research. I am proud to work at a University committed to managing the water needs of our institution, our wildlife and our communities. The Estates team is passionate about water and since 2014 we have seen a 17% reduction in water consumption. This has been achieved through projects including rainwater harvesting, leak-reduction schemes and installing low-consumption technologies.

On our award-winning Jubilee Campus, water captured from the buildings tops up our lakes, which provide a valuable habitat as well as helping to heat and cool some of our buildings.

Our unique estate of 1,341 acres also provides opportunities for water research, such as tests beds for water quality and use on our dairy farm. This includes working with external organisations such as Lindhurst Engineering to use innovative cost effective technology to both recycle waste and recover energy from our dairy farm waste water slurry.

How you can reduce your water consumption

  • ‘Catch the drop’ – please inform to report water leakages, from leaky taps to large scale leakages.
  • Don’t leave taps running – when filling up the kettle, washing your pots etc – only use what you need

Water great idea – if you have an idea of how we can save more water at the University, please email

To coincide with World Water Day we’ve published a comprehensive new map showing the locations of water fountains across campus.

Visit WasteNott to find out more.

Posted in research