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Fighting the California Drought

In January 2014, the governor of California declared a drought state of emergency, and it has continued to worsen.  This prolonged threat to the California water supply has called for the reduction in water usage throughout the state. 

Santa Clara University and the Office for Sustainability are working to conserve water on campus and to remind students to do their share.  The Center for Sustainability website offers a spread of information on how to reduce water and how the University as a whole is cutting down on water usage.  On the televisions throughout campus, there are reminders to cut down on shower times in order to conserve water.  The weekly ASG emails often feature a drought report, demonstrating the severity of the drought throughout the state.  Here are six particular areas in which the campus is conserving water during the drought.

1. Campus Fountains

The Sobrato, Benson, Daly Science, and University Villas fountains were all turned off after the state of emergency was declared.  While the St. Ignatius and Abby Sobrato fountains remain on, they now use recycled water.

2. Recycled Water

The campus uses recycled water to water the grass, making 85% of the ground irrigated with recycled water.  Some of the plumbing around campus also uses recycled water. 


3. Dorms

In the residence halls around campus, low-flow showerheads, sink aerators, and toilets all have features in order to conserve water.  The washing machines also use around 35-50% less water, as they are front-loading machines. 


4. Benson

The Dining Services on campus only run dish machines when necessary, and low flow spray nozzles and drip system only are used.  Additionally, Benson offers vegetarian and vegan food options, which are low water options. 


5. Buildings

By employing low-flow/dual-flush toilets, sink faucet aerators, and water-free urinals, SCU is reducing water use.  The outside windows of buildings are also no longer washed, therefore cutting down on water use. 


6. The Forge Garden

In this time of drought, the Forge Garden is adapting in order to conserve water.  By beginning to grow more drought-tolerant species and by using a drip irrigation system, the garden is saving water while still offering beautiful plants and flowers. 

The Center for Sustainability offers multiple suggestions to reduce water during the drought.  Reducing showers to five minutes or less, completely filling laundry machines and dishwashers, and watering plants and grass in the morning or evening to reduce evaporation are only a few of the ways in which Santa Clara students can conserve water and continue to fight the drought.   

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