Water Wise at Stanford

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—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%.  These efforts will collectively reduce Stanford's potable water consumption to 35% below the 2000 baseline. 

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

Conservation Measures

Behavioral Shifts

These measures will relay on campus population changing their habits in water use. Key actions include:

  • Take shorter showers: Whether at the gym or your campus residence, try to keep showers to 5 minutes. Contact becardinalgreen@stanford.edu to pick up a free shower timer (limited quantity available; first come, first served)
  • 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: For faculty and staff housing residents, try reducing irrigation needs in times of drought. Halt irrigation of purely decorative lawn areas and water less often or at night to minimize waste due to evaporation or runoff.  Qualifying Stanford residents can receive a weather-based irrigation controller for a discounted price of $99.  

Pledge to do your part in reducing campus water consumption by following the steps outlined here and clicking to pledge below.  All pledge participants will be eligible for raffle thank you prizes throughout June 2014. 


Operational Efficiency & Retrofits

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

  • Retrofit remaining high water use appliances, equipment and indoor plumbing fixtures (e.g. installing aerators)
  • Improve irrigation efficiency by eliminating over-spray, fixing leaks and installing weather-based irrigation controllers

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