Long-term campus water planning

President Napolitano's Water Initiative

In January 2014, UC President Janet Napolitano announced a goal of reducing per-capita water use by 20 percent throughout the UC system by the year 2020. Later, the goal of a 36% reduction by 2025 was implemented. These goals have been established in the UC Board of Regents Sustainable Practices Policy. UCSC has accomplished and maintained the 2025 reduction goal since FY19.

"The University of California has long been a leader in conservation efforts," she said. "This new 2020 goal complements the university's Carbon Neutrality Initiative and its broader award-winning sustainability efforts. UC is prepared to play a leadership role in response to California's current water crisis by demonstrating water sustainability solutions to the rest of the state." Read more about the president's initiative.

UCSC's Water Action Plan

UC Santa Cruz's Water Action Plan (WAP) has been developed to acknowledge achievements and identify strategies that can be implemented to reduce the campus's demand on water resources and to promote healthy watersheds in and around the campus.

The UC Santa Cruz WAP recognizes the limited nature of water resources in our region and the campus's role as a responsible steward in the community. It identifies the achievements in water conservation and identifies the campus's long-term strategies for achieving sustainable water systems.

Long Range Development Plan

The UC Santa Cruz 2021 Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) projected that water demand would increase by almost 60 percent over FY2017-18 water use (154 million gallons per year (MGY)) to approximately 292 MGY, to accommodate planned growth out to 2040.

However, significant increases in demand for potable use can be considerably offset by ongoing conservation efforts, such as non-potable use for irrigation and central plant cooling systems and continued conservation strategies. The LRDP identified that the campus has an opportunity to leverage site water resources to meet non-potable demands including:

  • Groundwater Source: The karst aquifer in the central and lower portions of the campus has been identified as a non-potable and potable water source with sufficient recharge to provide sustainable yield.
  • Stormwater and Rainwater Harvesting: Harvesting is a strategy that will continue to be implemented across the campus at a building or district scale. See UCSC's existing Onsite Non-Potable Water Systems

In order to maximize water conservation opportunities, new development is planned to be dual plumbed, and irrigation systems to be non-potable water ready. The campus will also explore the potential for wastewater treatment and reuse for non-potable water demands in the future.

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