April 2, 2014


SUBJECT:    UC San Diego’s Commitment to Conserve Water through Drought Action Plan

Sustainability is an integral part of UC San Diego’s education, research and campus operations. Given that UC San Diego is located in a semi-arid climate, our campus has long had ambitious water-saving goals. Now, with California experiencing a drought emergency, the university and each of us as individuals must take even greater action to reduce our water consumption to the greatest extent possible.

The campus already saves millions of gallons of water annually through implementation of a comprehensive Water Action Plan. The plan focuses on a variety of conservation measures and details how we are working toward the University of California goal to reduce campus-wide potable water use by 20 percent from our baseline by 2020. Under the plan, we have:

· Retrofitted existing irrigation systems with low-flow devices, resulting in an annual savings of 7.2 million gallons in irrigation water used.

· Included water-saving features in the design of new buildings that will save approximately 1.5 million gallons per year.

· Installed computer-controlled irrigation systems that have the potential to save more than 100 million gallons of water annually.

· Utilized fire hydrant testing water at the Central Utilities Plan for the cooling towers, resulting in saving approximately 300,000 gallons per year.

· Installed laminar water flow devices in nearly 1,000 faucets at the Hillcrest Medical Center, saving approximately 2 million gallons annually.

· Installed low-flow water fixtures and native or drought tolerant vegetation in all new construction and installed low-flow water fixtures in the majority of existing campus residential facilities. All design guidelines and neighborhood plans specify low water sustainable landscape practices.

These are just a few of the steps we have taken to conserve water. Given the severity of the current situation, further action is needed. UC San Diego – and the University of California Office of the President and our sister campuses – are committed to additional drought response measures.

In the months ahead, we will undertake a variety of projects that could further reduce potable water consumption by approximately 200 million gallons a year. These include the installation of more high-efficiency fixtures and low-flow devices, using reclaimed water at the East Campus Utilities Plant, the installation of artificial turf at Muir Field, and a planning study to outline and set standards for the reduction of water use through design for the entire campus, as well as various other projects.

We are also asking members of the campus community to take action. What each of us does individually can add up to make a collective difference. If you see a water leak, report it online at or call (858) 534-2930. Turn off faucets while washing your hands and try trimming a minute or two off your shower. You can learn more water-saving tips by visiting or

If everyone at UC San Diego reduced their water use by a gallon a day, we would save more than 18 million gallons a year. Changes in our daily habits are essential if we are to successfully face the water challenges ahead.

Pradeep K. Khosla

Gary C. Matthews
Vice Chancellor -
Resource Management and Planning