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USC is the first university to use recycled water in swimming pool

In 2015, USC became the first university in Australia to supplement 'make up' water for the swimming pool with treated onsite lake water. The treated lake water meets the Australian Standard to Potable Water Classification making it the first project of its kind in the country to be used for this purpose.

The lake water is part of an integrated catchment system that directs storm water runoff through a system of swales and creeks before being collected for storage in two lakes onsite.

The lake water is then treated using state of the art technology and re-used for both the University swimming pool and the centralised cooling towers which are a part of the campus air-conditioning system.

Since this project has been implemented, the University has achieved a saving in excess of 20,000 Litres of mains waters used per day, which also significant reduces the cost for mains water supply

Treatment plant

A water treatment plant removes solids and modifies the lake water to produce potable standard water for use as make-up water to the pool and in the cooling towers. The plant reduces the University’s potable water usage by as much as 20kL daily. The University pool also uses an efficient electronic chlorinator.

Potable water

The University aims for, and consistently achieves, potable water usage per student of less than 5kL annually. Water usage is reduced by using harvested stormwater for all on-campus irrigation, and conventional water bubblers have been replaced with models that encourage reuse of water bottles in lieu of buying bottled water. The University provides a variety of alternative options to purchasing commercial bottled water. Refer to the Water Refill Campus Initiative.

Cooling tower


The University's engineering area is conducting research into the way permeable pavements alter the movement and quality of surface water.

The USC Cab Rank project will test permeable pavement and the ability to store captured water.

The Street Tree project, conducted in partnership with University of South Australia and the Sunshine Coast Council, will test a method that allows trees to grow without damaging pavement. A test site has been established in one of the campus carparks.

Stormwater managment

There is a stormwater management system of lakes, swales and settling ponds on campus to protect the Mooloolah River National Park's waterways from high nutrient levels and sediment run-off.

Water monitoring and systems

Asset Management Services conducts regular surveys to locate water leaks on campus and has implemented audit and flow test of all taps and fittings and the installation of water saving devices and efficient isolation points for ongoing plumbing works on campus.

Hot water taps have been removed from toilet facilities on campus. Hot water at the University’s research centre on Fraser Island is provided entirely by solar hot water systems.

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