Water Wise at Stanford


Drought Response

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 our part.  Stanford completed a detailed analysis of its water consumption to develop a set of measures to voluntarily further reduce water use.  While the university had already planned for and invested in achieving 35% reduction in potable water consumption, the analysis and campus feedback showed that up to an additional 5% savings could be achieved through further conservation measures, as outlined below.

Click here to view the most recent update to Stanford's drought response.

History of Conservation at Stanford

Stanford's award-winning water conservation program has reduced potable water use by 20% over the last decade—despite continued campus growth—throught 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%.  These efforts will collectively reduce Stanford's potable water consumption to 35% below the 2000 baseline. 

How You Can Help

Individual Behavioral Shifts

We ask for your participation in the following ways:

  • Take shorter showers: Whether at the gym or your campus residence, try to keep showers to 5 minutes. 
  • Run smarter laundry loads: In dorms and residences, be sure to run a full load of laundry rather than just washing a few items.
  • Report leaks: Report leaks by calling 650.723.2281.  Vigilance is key!
  • Reduce 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

As Stanford University prepares for potential water supply restrictions, we are considering blending potable groundwater with our potable San Francisco Public Utility Commission water.  We have listed the resulting expected water quality for four groundwater blending scenarios in a survey for campus researchers and staff.  If you work in labs or with operations that depend on water quality, please take a few minutes to review the blending scenarios and complete the water-blend survey