Water Initiatives

In addition to monitoring and reporting the campus’ compliance with local, state, and federal regulations for quality of drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater, the Water Planning & Stewardship (WP&S) team  works with its partners to increase water awareness and conservation across campus. Thanks to ongoing conservation efforts, campus domestic water use averaged 1.5 million gallons per day (mgd) from July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018, compared to 2.7 mgd at the start of the water conservation program in 2001.

  • WP&S's annual Water Campaign, in partnership with the Office of Sustainability, focuses on educating the community on Stanford’s water systems, stewardship efforts, and encouraging conservation regardless of drought conditions.  
  • Water Efficiency staff collaborate with Grounds Services and the Land Use and Environmental Planning’s Conservation Program for Stanford’s annual Earth Day service project at the Arizona Garden and in the Foothills. Volunteers weed and remove invasive plants to help restore the historic cacti garden and salamander habitat in the foothills.
  • WP&S partners with campus facilities to promote a 24-hour water waste and leak hotline. Anyone observing leaking taps, toilets, or showers, misaligned irrigation, broken irrigation sprinklers (water shooting into the air), or excessive irrigation runoff (flowing in gutters), is encouraged to dial (650) 723-2281 for immediate attention.


Following unprecedented water conservation and plentiful winter rain and snow, on April 7, 2017, Governor Brown ended the drought state of emergency in most of California. While the drought emergency has been lifted, the state prohibitions against water waste are still in effect.

In response to the Governor's announcement, Provost Persis Drell issued a letter to the campus community which acknowledged the excellent community response to the drought and lifted the two-days-per-week domestic watering restriction and the 25% reduction of non-potable irrigation water. However, water conservation remains a way of life in California and at Stanford. It is important that the university continues to manage water resources in a sustainable manner to be prepared for California’s cyclical weather patterns that are prone to drought and to maintain water supplies for our growing campus. Learn more about Stanford's water supplies and how you can contribute to water conservation.

In accordance with the state, the university continues to prohibit water wasting practices on campus, including:

  • The application of potable water to landscapes in a manner that causes runoff to adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, private and public walkways, roadways, parking lots or structures. 
  • The use of a hose that dispenses potable water to wash a motor vehicle, unless the hose is fitted with a shut-off nozzle.
  • The application of potable water to any hard surface, including, but not limited to, driveways, sidewalks, and asphalt. 
  • The use of potable water in a fountain or decorative water feature, unless the water is recirculated.
  • The application of potable water to outdoor landscapes during or within 48 hours after measurable rainfall.
  • Serving drinking water other than upon request by an eating or drinking establishment.
  • The irrigation with potable water of landscapes outside newly constructed homes and buildings.