Students and staff activities are reducing campus water use

Students and staff on campus are regularly engaged in a number of activities that help the campus conserve water. Here are some of those activities:

Image of a shower timerUCSC students living in residence halls, apartments, the colleges, and other affiliated residential areas are embracing water conservation efforts.  Residential Life staff educate students on the importance of water conservation and offer a variety of opportunities for students to show their support through participation in water-saving activities.

Particularly during the last 2014-16 drought:

  • Residents in many communities were educated about and reminded of water conservation efforts through:
    • Mirror clings above the sinks at which they wash their hands and brush their teeth
    • 5-minute timers placed in some showers
    • Educational/cautionary posters in their laundry facilities and elsewhere
  • Educational posters regarding water conservation were placed in high taffic areas
  • Multiple sustainability-themed communities were formed
  • Many communities asked residents to sign a Water Conservation Pledge at move-in and remind them of this pledge throughout the year
  • Residential Advisers and other student staff members have tabled and otherwise educated residents about the importance of water conservation
  • Students can alway reach out to Enviroslug to learn more about student-led initiatives to help conserve water.

Facilities and Grounds staff have spent the last several years implementing projects that use less water in housing areas.  These include the planting of drought-tolerant plant species and the implementation of "low-flow" plumbing devices.

  • Installation and ongoing inspection of low-flow showers, sinks and toilets
  • Reduced irrigation to lawns, playing fields, and other landscaped features
  • In 2020, the Grounds department took a holistic approach to improving the biome of the athletic fields which resulted in the saving of approximately one million gallons of water
  • The Fix-it system (an online, customer-generated request for facilities services) is reviewed at least once per day to identify issues involving potential water loss; such issues have a high-priority response expectation and receive extremely quick response

Dining Services has long been a campus leader in conservation efforts of all kinds.  One of the first contributions made to water conservation was the elimination of trays — and the high-temperature washing these required — from all dining halls. Some of the other improvements include the following.

  • Installation of low-flow aerators on all kitchen and restroom faucets in all dining facilities on campus 
  • Dual-flush valve handles installed on toilets in women’s restrooms at the University Center and at the Crown/Merrill and Nine/Ten Dining Halls

Other college and housing units are doing their part to educate, implement, and contribute in support of water conservation at UCSC.

  • Employee Housing Homeowners Associations have voluntarily agreed to drastically reduce landscape irrigation
  • Conference Services clients/guests all receive educational materials at time of registration, and have the benefit of high-visibility materials posted in all guest accommodations

elv 09-2021