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“the starting point for a better world is the belief that it is possible.” —norman cousins, journalist, professor, and world peace advocate

Reusable water bottles with BC logo
Boston College Conserves Water
Boston's Water Supply
Bottled Water
Conserving Water


Although 75 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, only 3 percent of that supply is freshwater, and only 1 percent of that is accessible for drinking. Not only is the limited supply of drinking water an issue, water quality is an even more challenging problem for the world. Many developing nations have inadequate or contaminated water supplies, leading to disease and malnutrition.

Water conservation is indeed a global effort, and Boston College is taking steps to reduce its consumption. Additionally, there are many simple steps you, as an individual, can take to preserve the world’s water supply.


Boston College Conserves Water

Water conservation is important to guarantee adequate supplies for future needs. In addition, water and sewer costs have risen over 500 percent in the last 10 years and are continuing to rise. Therefore, BC has taken a number of measures to reduce water consumption on campus.


Flowing Low

Showerhead with water running

Low-flow toilets and shower heads, as well as faucet aerators, have been installed in a number of the dorms and will be used in new student living areas being created through renovation and expansion projects in many of the residence halls.

Ground Efforts

Photo by Savanna Kiefer, BC '17

Boston College uses underground sprinkler systems across campus for efficient irrigation. The school is now using native plants in new landscape and planting plans.  

Dining Efforts

Lower Dining Hall

Boston College Dining Services engages in ongoing efforts to ensure water quality and conservation. Dining Services continually researches energy and water-efficient technologies when replacing food service equipment and purchases Energy Star or equivalently-rated replacement equipment. Learn more about Boston College Dining Services's Sustainability efforts.


laundry makes doing laundry almost as easy as when Mom used to do it for you (oh, those good old days). It’s an Internet application that lets you monitor the status of washers and dryers in connected laundry rooms via a Web browser. LaundryView's mission is to help you save time by keeping you informed about the current state of laundry room equipment wherever you have access to a browser or email.

boston's water supply

The Quabbin Reservoir, Boston's water supply

Boston is fortunate enough to have one of the freshest and best-tasting water supplies in the world. The Massachusetts Water & Reservoir Authority (MWRA) supplies and regulates the supply of water to Boston, including Boston College’s campus. MWRA's water comes from the Quabbin Reservoir, about 65 miles west of Boston, and the Wachusett Reservoir, about 35 miles west of Boston. The two reservoirs combined supply an average of 220 million gallons per day to consumers. The Quabbin alone can hold a four-year supply of water.

Water taken from these reservoirs is filtered and tested over and over again to ensure quality in health, safety, and taste. This process is similar to the steps taken by some bottled water companies, yet costs much less and is better for the environment and your health. Follow the links below to see what the MWRA is doing to ensure water quality and view recent water quality reports:

MWRA Home Page  |  Water Quality Monthly Report  | How the Water System Works  

Ever go for a walk or jog around “the reservoir” at BC? That little body of water used to be part of Boston’s water supply. Learn more about the Chestnut Hill Reservoir’s history.

bottled water

Drinking Water
Photo by Savanna Kiefer, BC '17

In recent years, bottled-water consumption has increased rapidly, leading to vast amounts of waste and increased oil consumption. The plastic used to make bottles is derived from crude oil, and transporting the heavy cargo to the market demands large amounts of fuel. These bottles often end up in landfills, increasing global waste.

In light of this, Boston College students have promoted awareness of recycling and use of local water supplies. Tap water in the Boston area is clean, refreshing, and — at $0.02 a gallon — much less costly than its bottled-water counterpart at about $1.25 for half a liter. As it stands now, most bottled water comes from natural sources or the same public water supply that supplies water to your tap. Carry and use refillable bottles for water instead of buying water in plastic bottles.

conserving water

Running faucet at kitchen sink

There are many simple steps you can take to reduce your water consumption: Don’t take marathon showers, fill the sink to wash dishes instead of running water, and fix leaky faucets. For more simple conservation tips, visit the MWRA’s website.

For other environmentally friendly tips and tricks, visit the Conserving Water page in our What You Can Do section.

Have a leaky faucet? File a Work Order now to start conserving water.