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UC Commitment

The University of California is committed to reducing growth-adjusted potable water consumption by 20 percent by 2020 and 36 percent by 2025, when compared to a three-year average baseline of FY 2005-06, FY 2006-07, and FY 2007-08.

Campus Water Conservation Effotrs

The campus Climate Action Plan calls for a minimum 4% increase in water conservation annually. New campus plans will accelerate this goal to achieve City of San Diego water restrictions.

In response to California and San Diego mandated water restrictions, Resource Management & Planning responded by stopping water leaks within 72 hours of notification, limiting watering hours and mandating use of recirculating pumps for decorative water fountains. We also identified 352,000 square feet of turf for conversion to low/no-water-use landscape using drought-tolerant plants and groundcover. Once all areas are converted, the campus will save approximately 9 million gallons per year.

Recycled Water Irrigation

With each new construction project, we install landscape recycled water piping. Approximately 30% of campus irrigation uses recycled water. We also:

  • Retrofitted nearly 7,900 standard sprinklers with high-efficiency rotating nozzles, saving 10 million gallons and $82,000 per year
  • Use computer-controlled irrigation systems that adjust watering based on temperature and humidity and save an additional 55 million gallons annually
  • Monitor soil moisture to target irrigation
  • Expanded recycled water distribution throughout campus


Planting low-water-use, native and drought-tolerant plants in 75% of the irrigated campus landscape. Environmentally sensitive landscape management also improves water and soil quality, promotes biological diversity and lessens our environmental impact.

Improving Efficiency

UC San Diego is conserving water by retrofitting existing buildings with low-flow devices and installing low-flow fixtures in residence halls.

UC San Diego is investigating pumping seawater from La Jolla Canyon, a deep off-shore trench, through a closed-loop system to help cool campus buildings. Water will be returned to the sea. Seawater, a clean renewable energy source, could offset up to 4 megawatts of energy and potentially save 100 million gallons of water annually.

Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

More than 76% of our cleaning products are “Green Seal Certified.” These environmentally friendly products protect worker health and safety while improving gray water quality .

Storm Water Management

UC San Diego's Storm Water Management Program helps prevent water pollution and keeps our beaches clean by eliminating dry weather flow discharges and measurably reducing harmful pollutants (heavy metals, organics, bacteria and sediment) in urban and storm water runoff.