Provost John Etchemendy's letter to Faculty Staff Housing

Dear Colleagues,

The drought in California continues, requiring the state to increase water conservation efforts through emergency regulations that take effect Aug. 1, 2014. These regulations, punishable by fines of up to $500 per day for individuals and $10,000 per day for water supply agencies, prohibit:

  • The application of domestic water to any hard surface, including, but not limited to, driveways, sidewalks and asphalt.
  • Watering of outdoor landscapes in a manner that causes runoff to adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, private and public walkways, roadways, parking lots or structures.
  • Using a hose to wash a motor vehicle, unless the hose is fitted with a shut-off nozzle.
  • Using potable water in a fountain or decorative water feature, unless the water is recirculated.
  • Irrigation of landscape with potable water on more than two days per week.

Since the campus began a voluntary water conservation program earlier this year, we have reduced our overall domestic (potable) water use by about 11 percent, with Faculty Staff Housing leading the pace with a 13 percent year-to-date reduction. Thank you for your efforts thus far. But these savings are prior to the summer irrigation season when much of our potable water is consumed, and so to comply with these new regulations we must limit irrigation using the campus domestic water system to two days per week.

To ensure enforceability of this provision and maximum conservation of water, effective Aug. 1, 2014, irrigation on Faculty Staff Housing and other campus lawns using domestic water may occur only on Tuesday and Saturday nights for even-numbered addresses, and Wednesday and Sunday nights for odd-numbered addresses, between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Since 2000, Stanford's water conservation program has reduced university domestic (drinkable) water use by about 20 percent, despite campus growth. This reduction translates to a 25 percent reduction on a per capita basis. The Stanford Energy System Innovations (SESI) project, currently under construction, is projected to further reduce potable water use another 15 percent starting in 2015, increasing Stanford's overall domestic water savings to 35 percent below 2000 levels next year. Nevertheless, we are in a severe drought and must do all we can to conserve water immediately. I ask for your assistance in complying with the specific measures listed above, and to pursue any other practical forms of water conservation that are available to you. Please call the Land, Buildings & Real Estate (LBRE) facilities customer service center at (650) 723-2281 to report any water leaks; runoff from irrigation; other violations of the mandatory measures outlined above; and to suggest other opportunities for water conservation that you may be aware of.

As always, thanks so much for your efforts.


John Etchemendy