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California Drought: On January 17, 2014, Governor Brown issued a Declaration of Emergency for the State of California due to drought and severe water shortage conditions. Since the announcement, Stanford has completed a detailed analysis of its water consumption to develop a set of measures to voluntarily further reduce water use.

Pledge to be Water Wise

New Restrictions

While the university has already planned for and invested in achieving a 35% reduction in potable water consumption, earlier this year an effort was launched to achieve an additional voluntary 5 percent overall water reduction in response to the current drought. The campus water department prepared a Drought Management Plan and launched outreach campaigns to achieve efficiency and additional voluntary measures. Campus leadership also made the decision to shut off most campus fountains, even though all of them recirculate water, and reduce campus irrigation. Through June 2014, these initiatives reduced potable water usage to 11 percent below 2013 levels.

Effective August 1, 2014: Irrigation in Faculty & Staff Housing may occur only on Tuesday and Saturday nights for even numbered addresses, and Wednesday and Sunday nights for odd numbered addresses, between the hours of 7 pm and 7 am.


However, the drought in California continues and, overall, statewide water conservation measures have not been sufficient thus far. This required the state to step up efforts through emergency water conservation regulations, which take effect August 1, 2014.

These regulations, punishable by fines of up to $500 per day for individuals and $10,000 per day for water supply agencies, prohibit:

  1. The application of domestic water to any hard surface, including, but not limited to, driveways, sidewalks, and asphalt.
  2. Watering of outdoor landscapes in a manner that causes runoff to adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, private and public walkways, roadways,parking lots or structures.
  3. Using a hose to wash a motor vehicle, unless the hose is fitted with a shut-off nozzle.
  4. Using potable water in a fountain or decorative water feature, unless the water is recirculated.
  5. Irrigation of landscape more than two days per week (except for systems that use the non-potable campus Lake Water system which is exempt from these rules).

To comply with these regulations, irrigation of lawn (turf) using the campus domestic water system must be limited to two days per week starting August 1, 2014.

To ensure enforceability of this provision and assure maximum conservation of water, effective August 1, 2014 irrigation in F&SH may occur only on Tuesday and Saturday nights for even numbered addresses, and Wednesday and Sunday nights for odd numbered addresses, between the hours of 7pm and 7am.

Enforcement of this regulation will begin at the start of Fall Quarter. The campus Drought Management Plan (April 2014) will be revised to incorporate these changes and be renamed the Stanford Water Shortage Contingency Plan (WSCP) to be consistent with terminology adopted by the state. The new SWSCP will be available for download in the coming weeks.

Stanford Water Use Reduction Policy FAQ


  • Silicon Valley Water Conservation Award in the Large Organization category (2009)
  • Clean Bay Award, Palo Alto Regional Water Quality Control Plant (1997–2007)
  • Leadership recognition, for eliminating the use of antibacterial soaps, Palo Alto Regional Water Quality Control Plant (2007)
  • Santa Clara Valley Urban Runoff Pollution Prevention Program Award, for the site design for storm-water pollution prevention at Stanford Stadium (2007)