Did you know that every 10 seconds at Fleming College’s four campus locations, we use almost one litre of water for washing our hands? Advanced Water System Operations and Management (AWSOM) student Sainil Shaikh has been researching water use at the college and brainstorming solutions.
“Water is not just a form of H2O, it is the element that gives life on this planet,” said Sainil for World Water Day (March 22), which focuses on the importance of water. “Our future is lying in this, so we should do something about it.”
This year’s theme for World Water Day is Nature for Water, which explores nature-based solutions to water challenges. Sainil, who is doing his program co-op with Fleming’s Office of Sustainability, credits Fleming with already implementing solutions. The current five year sustainability plan targeted a 10% reduction in water consumption across the College by 2018; this target was achieved in 2016. Further reduction targets will now be identified.
“We don’t sell water bottles on campus and we have a Sustainability Action Plan. In the KTTC, we have a rain water harvesting system where rain water is collected and used to flush toilets and urinals. The normal flushing capacity of urinals is 3.8 litres per flush, but in the KTTC the urinals use 0.5 litres per flush,” said Sainil. “At Frost Campus, we have a constructed wetland, which treats water for a particular zone of the campus. We also have the Centre for Advancement of Water and Wastewater Technologies located at Frost.”
But there is still work to be done, explains Sainil. Through his research for the Office of Sustainability, Sainil discovered that water usage tends to be higher at the beginning of each semester and that washrooms are the main source of high water usage. One of Sainil’s suggestions is to add automatic faucets to all washrooms (they are currently in some washrooms, including facilities in the KTTC), which would reduce the litres per minute used from 5-6 to 0.18.
Sainil also plans to create an awareness campaign around the use of water on campus. “No one knows that we are wasting this much water every day,” he said. “My friends got surprised when I told them these numbers.”
Sainil came to Fleming College from India after discovering the AWSOM program and Frost Campus’ strong reputation in the environmental field.
“It has been amazing!” he said. “It’s a good campus, it has more of an environmentally friendly surrounding. There’s nature and a trail, the Centre for Advancement of Water and Wastewater Technologies is on campus, there’s a living wall… it feels good. I enjoy studying in such a good institution.”
He has also been enjoying his co-op at the Office of Sustainability, which is located in the Sutherland Campus.
“Everyone is so supportive. If I come up with ideas, they always support me,” he said. “It’s been a good, free environment where no one pushes me, they just support me.”
He is proud of the work he has done through his co-op and the knowledge he has gained through his program. “I am in the AWSOM program doing awesome things at Fleming,” he said.