Water wise students
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Water Wise

Stanford's award-winning water conservation program has reduced potable water use by 20 percent over the last decade – despite continued campus growth – through commitment, dedication, innovation and implementation of a comprehensive set of water saving measures. The new Stanford Energy System Innovations (SESI) energy project (scheduled to come online in Spring 2015) will further reduce campus potable water use by another 15 percent. These efforts combine with individual actions that each member of the campus community can take to help achieve maximum water efficiency. Do your part!

Get Involved

Individual Behavioral Shifts

Encourage everyone to be Water Wise! Participate by:

  • Taking shorter showers: Whether at the gym or your campus residence, try to keep showers to 5 minutes.
  • Running smarter laundry loads: In dorms and residences, be sure to run a full load of laundry rather than just washing a few items.
  • Reporting leaks: Report leaks by calling +1-650-723-2281. Vigilance is key!
  • Reducing irrigation: 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. Qualifying Stanford residents can receive a weather-based irrigation controller for a discounted price of $99.

Operational Efficiency & Retrofits

The department of Land, Buildings & Real Estate's utilities, zones, and operations management divisions will continue to implement the following additional efficiency measures:

  • Retrofitting remaining high water use indoor plumbing fixtures
  • Implementing a focused water use reduction program, particularly for outdoor uses (e.g. turning off water fountains, watering less often and/or at night to minimize waste due to evaporation or runoff)
  • Halt or reduce irrigation of purely decorative lawn areas that have little or no sports and recreation function.
  • Reduce water flow rates in faucet fixtures by installing aerators

Water Blend Survey

If you work in labs or with operations that depend on water quality, the university wants to hear from you as it evaluates the option of blending potable groundwater with potable San Francisco Public Utility Commission Water.

Please take a few minutes to review the Groundwater Blending scenario - PDF and the resulting expected water quality for four blending scenarios and complete the water-blend survey .

Why be Water Wise?

On January 17, 2014, Governor Brown issued a Declaration of Emergency for the State of California due to drought and severe water shortage conditions. While there are currently no mandatory water restrictions, the Governor is asking for voluntary reductions and Stanford is committed to doing its part. Through detailed analysis, the university determined that with a commitment to voluntary conservation an additional 5 percent savings in potable water consumption could be achieved.


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.

The university completed 50 major water efficiency retrofit projects from 2001 through 2008, pushing down average domestic use from 2.7 mgd in 2000–01 to 2.3 mgd in 2007–08, despite campus growth. Other results include:

  • Retrofits in student housing have cut water use by about 120 million gallons annually since 2001 – a 37 percent reduction.
  • Replacing once-through cooling systems in laboratories with recirculating systems that reuse the cold water has saved about 0.174 mgd.
  • Installation of 58 water-saving devices on sterilizers reduced water use by about 0.084 mgd.
  • At Stanford dining facilities, replacing standard dishwashers with trough conveyers that constantly recycle water cut water use by about 142 gallons per hour – a 51 percent savings.