Santa Cruz is a self-contained system that does not have the luxury of importing water from other countries. UCSC’s water consumption represents 6% of the water demand for the City of Santa Cruz water service are- using roughly 1.1 million gallons per day. Santa Cruz County, like other parts of California, has received much less rainfall than normal for multiple years. Because of that, the Santa Cruz City Council has passed a resolution declaring a Stage 3 Water Shortage Emergency within the City of Santa Cruz water service area.
Since the 90’s, UCSC has launched a variety of programs that have successfully lowered water use. In 2007, UCSC created a campus-wide survey that identified 54 water efficiency retrofit projects which were all completed by 2011. These projects include the replacement of toilets, urinals, and shower heads with high efficiency fixtures, and installation of faucet aerators in high-use areas of more than 20 buildings. A state-of-the-art wireless meter system has allowed the campus to reduce unmetered use to less that 5% and has helped identify water leaks. UC Santa Cruz Dining Services have made improvements with their facilities in order to reduce water waste and are currently operating at stage 2 water conservation levels. In 2008, all UCSC dining halls stopped using plastic trays which decreased water use by 35% and reduced cleaning water waste by 1 million gallons per year. With support from Power Save Campus, all dining hall spray nozzles were replaced with more efficient low-flow nozzles and water saving dishwashers were also installed.
Vision: Provide resources for effective communication for talking to housemates or friends about water conservation
Vision: Crossover and collaboration between organizations and with faculty and staff
Vision: Reduce water usage in residence hall showers
The Student Environmental Center’s Drop Your Own Drip Campaign (DYOD):
Take Back the Tap:
Water Working Group:
2014 City of Santa Cruz Drought Information:
In 2013 the Student Environmental Center's Drop Your Own Drip (DYOD) implemented a water reduction competition among the 10 college apartment buildings where mock water statements were sent to the apartment residents. Cowell College reduced personal water use the most and earned a celebratory block party and reusable water bottles.
Take Back the Tap installed 15 retrofits on water fountains around campus. The campaign hopes to increase water accessibility on campus in order to decrease the necessity for single-use plastic water bottles.
Campus Sustainability Plan
Research, identify, and apply new technologies and improvements that reduce campus water consumption and/or increase efficiency.
Implement ongoing student-directed effective educational campaigns to effect behavioral change and reduce water consumption.