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Carolyn Raider
IU Energy Challenge

Last modified: Friday, September 14, 2012

IU Bloomington water challenge competition saves 3.7 million gallons in first 10 days

Sept. 14, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- In just 10 days, an Indiana University Bloomington water conservation competition has reduced water consumption by 3,715,110 gallons from the same period last year.

IU Bloomington launched the Million Gallon Challenge Sept. 1 to raise awareness about the City of Bloomington's Emergency Water Restriction Order and to reduce water usage on the campus.

Although the Emergency Water Restriction Order was lifted this week, the city is requesting Bloomington citizens continue to conserve water voluntarily. IU Bloomington will continue its water conservation efforts, including the Million Gallon Challenge, which is scheduled to end Sept. 30.

"We are pleased with the magnitude of the campus response to this emergency, and I would like to think that this helped the city end the emergency water restrictions early," said Bill Brown, director of sustainability. "This is a great opportunity for everyone to become more aware of the need for water conservation, so we will continue this effort and hope the lessons learned persist."

Some of the biggest decreases in water consumption from last year included:

  • Residence halls - Collins 35 percent, Wright 15 percent, Woodlawn 15 percent
  • Athletic buildings - Cook Hall, 20 percent
  • Academic buildings - Bryan Hall 23 percent, Swain Hall 21 percent, Lilly Library 20 percent

Rainfall and cooler temperatures added momentum to the water conservation efforts. Irrigation on campus has been curtailed, and all on-campus fountains were turned off several weeks ago. The IU Bloomington campus received permission from the city to draw water from Griffy Lake to water the flowerbeds and hanging flower baskets around campus to reduce city water demand.

"With this year's dry summer in Indiana, there has never been a better time to focus on the benefits of water conservation," said Vice President for Capital Planning and Facilities Tom Morrison. "I know our IU community will be leaders in this effort."

The Office of Sustainability created additional resources for instructors interested in encouraging energy and water conservation during class, available through their Conservation in the Classroom website: Instructors can download posters, informational emails and PowerPoint slides encouraging resource conservation.

The Million Gallon Challenge is a collaboration of Indiana University's Campus Division, IU Communications, the Physical Plant, the Office of Sustainability and the Utility Information Group. Information about the Million Gallon Challenge is available at For more information about the Office of Sustainability and its initiatives, visit