Cardinal Green

Water Wise

While weather patterns over the past year have fluctuated from hot and dry to heavy rains, it doesn't mean the state’s water supplies are out of the danger zone indefinitely. Stanford’s award-winning water conservation program has risen to the challenge and exceeded the state's mandate, reducing potable water use on campus by 48% from a 2001 baseline - and we need everyone's help to keep these efforts moving forward.

Rather than waiting for a drought emergency to strike, Water Wise 2018 asked individuals to start embedding water conservation into their behaviors through small daily actions. By taking just a few impactful steps in your kitchen/laundry, bathroom, or garden, you could save thousands of gallons of water each year.

Water Wise is over for 2018, but you can take action year-round through My Cardinal Green:

Get Involved

This year's Water Wise campaign kicked off with two Earth Day volunteering opportunities. Participants worked to preserve the historic Arizona Garden and restore native plants in the Stanford foothills on April 20 and 21.

Why be Water Wise?

While Governor Brown officially ended the drought state of emergency on April 7, 2017, California remains a drought-prone state and requires every campus citizen to do their part to help conserve precious water resources. Here are some resources available for those living on campus:

  • Practice responsible landscaping and irrigation at your home: Irrigation is one of the largest water consuming practices at home. The Santa Clara Valley Water District offers landscape irrigation audits, as well as DIY indoor survey kits for faculty/staff housing units on campus. The Water Efficiency team is hosting two landscaping classes in spring 2018 through the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency. Learn more.


Stanford practices sustainable water use by managing available resources to meet university needs while preserving ecological systems and maintaining this vital resource for future generations. Some recent highlights from the water efficiency projects completed on campus include

  • Upgrading Residential and Dining Enterprises' (R&DE) irrigation system to weather-based technology that saves more than 30 million gallons annually. 
  • Implementation of the Stanford Energy System Innovations project that cut total campus potable water consumption 15%.
  • The Department of Athletics, Physical Education, and Recreation has converted more than 30,000 square feet of lawn to save more than 1 million gallons of irrigation water per year. 
  • Installation of 58 water-saving devices on sterilizers reduced water use by about 0.084 million gallons per day.
  • Water efficiency staff performed landscape irrigation water audits of more than 30 residences and other campus grounds in fiscal year 2015 to identify leaks, eliminate irrigation runoff, and improve overall efficiency while maintaining healthy plants.