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UC Commitment

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



  • The campus reduced total water consumption by approximately 110,000,000 gallons (17% reduction) compared to the previous year. Major reductions occurred in all areas, including housing (40% reduction), labs (20% reduction), offices (61% reduction), restaurants (45% reduction) and recreation facilities (40% reduction) in addition to a large reduction in industrial water used at our Central and East Campus Utility Plants (10% reduction).
  • Over the past two years, the Utilities & Sustainability team has installed and programmed over 250 water, electric, gas, chilled water and high-temperature water meters to transition 1,000 building-level Automatic Meter Reading meters. AMR metering allows near real-time data acquisition and analysis for the team and for campus partners. Staff in Facilities Management Irrigation and Building Operations, HDH Operations, Recreation Operations, and University Center Operations use the information provided to them to confirm irrigation and building performance and address issues in a timely, cost-effective manner. In 2020, the Utilities & Sustainability team identified more than 450 irregular water patterns that allowed proactive resolution of water leaks and water waste.

Campus Water Conservation Efforts

The campus Water 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 Use 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 are also converting many turf areas to low/no-water-use landscape using drought-tolerant plants and groundcover. 

Report Water Waste

If you see water waste on campus, please contact Facilities Management's Customer Relations help desk, (858) 534 2930.

Recycled Water Irrigation

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

  • Expanded recycled water distribution throughout campus
  • 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

Centralized Irrigation Control

Facilities Management landscape irrigation specialists and Capital Program Management project managers are working together to centralize campus irrigation under a single software control system that features weather-based irrigation scheduling and flow monitoring that automatically detects and isolates irrigation leaks. The campus has more than 200 irrigation controllers that operate nearly 4,000 valves. More than 90% of these controllers are now set up on the Maxicom central control irrigation system, with the remainder scheduled for upgrade.


UC San Diego plants low-water-use, native and drought-tolerant plants in 75% of  the irrigated campus landscape and ensures compliance with California’s Model Water Efficiency Landscape Ordinance (MWELO). 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. In new and recently retrofitted buildings, condensate-capture systems collect non-potable water from various building sources, filter and store it onsite for use in dual-plumbed toilets and landscape irrigation.

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.