river corrib dam at sunset

 Photo by Prof. Chaosheng Zhang‌

Over the last year we have demonstrated our commitment to the principles of the SDGs though our effective and efficient use of water, a key natural resource; by preventing and reducing waste and managing waste in a sustainable way and by encouraging and facilitating sustainable transport and travel patterns. We are committed to creating a campus that will have a positive impact on the surrounding environment, promoting resource efficiency, reducing pollution and protecting historic areas of the campus.
Our Strategic Aim is to minimise the local, regional and global environmental impacts of water usage by reducing university-wide water usage, increasing the use of reclaimed water and reduce bottled water consumption on campus.

Wastewater Treatment

Trade Effluent:
NUI Galway has a Trade Effluent licence in compliance with Irish Regulation, which governs the discharge of all our liquid waste (other than domestic wastewater and stormwater). NUI Galway comply with the conditions of our Trade Effluent Licence across our Campus including food services, research facilities and our sports facility.

We work under a water discharge licence with Irish Water through Galway City Council and all our wastewater discharge goes into the Galway City Council (GCC) public sewer network and treated by the Galway Wastewater Treatment Plant. This plant is licensed by the EPA which outlines strict guidelines and quality control for wastewater treatment. We thereby abide by the water quality standards and guidelines for water discharge laid out in the National Guidelines for wastewater treatment.

Carna Reserach Station
NUI Galway's Carna Research Station, located in Carna, the Atlantic coast of Ireland is a leading facility for aquaculture research and development on a diverse range of marine finfish, shellfish and seaweed species. The wastewater discharge is under license with Galway County Council (GGC)  and discharge water is tested monthly by Complete Laboratory Solutions with all results sent to GCC for reference.

Laboratory waste at NUI Galway
All wastewater in laboratories in NUI Galway are trapped at source with water going through dilution traps which are cleaned and changed every 6months, this reduces any chemicals entering the waste treatment systems. 

Reducing bottled water consumption on campus

NUI Galway is committed to reducing bottled water consumption on campus by increasing drinking water facilities, improving signage and implementing a programme of education and awareness. 


water bottle filling at fountain


Water fountains on campus

University of Galway has a network of over 30 drinking water fountains on campus, including 4 recently installed outdoor ones.

An image of a University of Galway standalone outdoor drinking water fountain

See our drinking water map or the locations of all water fountains on campus!

map of locations of defibrillators and water fountains on campus

Certified Water Stewardship

NUI Galway is committed to the effective and efficient use of water throughout the campus and the appropriate treatment, management and disposal of wastewater. The University is striving to reduce its water usage and increase the use of harvested rainwater through a series of measures, including: water leakage detection and repair programme, education and outreach, process-related efficiency measures, greywater and rainwater harvesting. The Certified Water Stewardship badge demonstrates that key staff have undertaken a course designed to show leadership and set goals/targets in reducing water consumption.

Water Stamp Logo

NUI Galway Water Stewardship Charter

The NUI Galway Water Stewardship Charter outlines our key actions and targets.

The Charter commits to maintaining and achieving further reductions in water usage on campus and to highlighting the importance of water of as a critical and limited resource. It aims to ensure that our future water professionals are cognisant of best, sustainable practices in water resource management, treatment and supply, through research-led teaching and on‐campus applied solutions.

Front page of the NUI Galway Water Stewardship Charter

Strategic Aims

  • To raise awareness with staff, students and visitors of water as a critical and limited resource that must be used responsibly.
  • To reduce water usage on campus by 10% by 2025 based on 2018 baseline.
  • To eliminate all unnecessary water usage on campus, to maintain and further improve the water usage reductions achieved on campus in the last period.
  • NUI Galway to utilise new technologies and methods to reduce water consumption on our Laboratory's and Research labs.
  • To eliminate the reliance of staff, students and visitors on single use plastics for water consumption.

Life below water

NUI Galway is a global leader for research on life below water and education and support for aquatic ecosystems both locally and globally. The Times Higher Societal Impact Rankings 2020 placed NUI Galway 10th in the world for addressing UN SDG 14 – life below water. SDG 14 aims to sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems from pollution and address the impacts of ocean acidification. 

SDGs 450pix