Help conserve water with Santa Cruz in extreme drought


After a critically dry year in 2007 and a multiyear, Stage 3 drought in 2014 through 2016, the City of Santa Cruz is in another Stage 1 drought. It has become clear that periodic drought, exasperated by climate change, is a matter of fact for Santa Cruz and California.

Mandatory water rationing during these droughts affect us all. Over the years, the entire campus community has had to respond by cutting water use by 10 to nearly 30 percent at times. 

Through at least October, UCSC is required to reduce its water consumption by 9%. We need all members of the campus community to do their part in helping us reach this goal. 

You can help UCSC conserve water

Please report any leaks—no matter how small—by going to

A few water-saving tips:

  • Shorten your showers.
  • Run full loads in the laundry or dishwashing machines.
  • Turn off the water when soaping your hands, shaving, brushing your teeth, and washing dishes.
  • Don't let dishes sit out, since dishes with dried-on food are harder to wash.
  • Encourage your peers to be water efficient and aware.

More ideas about conserving water are available online.

Historic water conservation success 

Over the last two decades, UCSC has taken ambitious steps to reduce our water use. We’ve retrofitted plumbing fixtures, replaced turf, greatly improved our metering and monitoring program to quickly capture leaks, and launched educational programs for students and employees. These continuous investments have enabled UCSC to exceed the UC goal of a 36% reduction in potable water use from the baseline years of 2005-2008 - all while significantly increasing enrollment. You can follow UCSC's water use reduction against the UC Office of the President’s goals annually by accessing the UC Annual Report on Sustainable Practices

Regionally, UCSC is doing its part to conserve. While housing more than 50% of its students on campus, which is over 10% of the population served by the water district, campus uses only about 6% of the water supply.

Moving forward

The campus has established a Drought Response Working Group to identify projects and strategies to cope with the current drought and to ensure that the campus is meeting current water restrictions.

Facing the inevitableness of climate change impacts like future droughts, water conservation must become a way of life for all of us. Thank you for doing your part, helping UCSC reach its water reduction goals, and aiding local aquatic systems in the San Lorenzo River by reducing water waste.

Learn more about UCSC’s Onsite Non-Potable Water Systems and recent efforts from the Grounds Department to embrace sustainability and save one million gallons of water.