Campus-Wide Conservation Efforts Greatly Reduce Water Use during Drought Conditions
In June 2015, Provost John Etchemendy issued a letter asking the campus community to take action for water conservation. To comply with state drought regulations, Stanford University limited domestic water irrigation to two days per week and asked nonpotable irrigation water users for a reduction of 25% compared to 2013.
After reducing the campus’ water footprint from 2.73 to 2.10 million gallons per day between 2001 and 2013, Water Resources staff were unsure how much more water could be saved to meet the additional state drought restrictions without significantly or visibly impacting the Stanford community.
While water savings from Stanford Energy System Innovations and implemented conservation projects were predicted, the additional savings from the campus community were incredible. Comparing calendar year 2015 to 2013, indoor water use was reduced by 23% and domestic irrigation by 42%. Across a similar timeframe, nonpotable irrigation was reduced by 23% campus-wide, with some groups achieving as much as a 54% reduction! While some of the water savings could be attributed to newly installed technology, much was due to behavior change and conservation actions by campus faculty, staff, and students; the staggering savings could not have been accomplished without participation, awareness, and diligence by the entire campus.