Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 70.16
Liaison Kylee Singh
Submission Date Sept. 19, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

California Polytechnic State University
OP-22: Water Use

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.89 / 4.00 Eric Veium
Energy & Sustainability Analyst
Facilities Management & Development
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Level of ”Physical Risk QUANTITY” for the institution’s main campus as indicated by the World Resources Institute’s Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas:

Total water use (potable and non-potable combined):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total water use 287,889,194 Gallons
+ Date Revised: March 19, 2020
458,882,392 Gallons

Potable water use:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use 161,737,646 Gallons 180,163,777 Gallons

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year July 1, 2018 June 30, 2019
Baseline Year Jan. 1, 2013 Dec. 31, 2013

A brief description of when and why the water use baseline was adopted:

In 2015 as part of the states mandatory water conservation efforts, Governor Brown set 2013 as the baseline year in response to the ongoing drought in California.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users":
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 7,816 7,241
Number of employees resident on-site 21 14
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 12 1
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 20,272 19,006.80
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 2,589 2,205.30
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 0 0
Weighted campus users 19,117 17,723.82

Potable water use per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use per weighted campus user 8,460.41 Gallons 10,165.06 Gallons

Percentage reduction in potable water use per weighted campus user from baseline:

Gross floor area of building space:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Gross floor area 6,023,154 Gross Square Feet 5,646,619 Gross Square Feet

Potable water use per unit of floor area:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use per unit of floor area 26.85 Gallons / GSF 31.91 Gallons / GSF

Percentage reduction in potable water use per unit of floor area from baseline:

Does the institution wish to pursue Part 3 of this credit? (reductions in total water use per acre/hectare of vegetated grounds):

Area of vegetated grounds:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Vegetated grounds 32 Acres 46 Acres

Total water use (potable + non-potable) per unit of vegetated grounds:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total water use per unit of vegetated grounds 8,996,537.31 Gallons / Acre 9,975,704.17 Gallons / Acre

Percentage reduction in total water use per unit of vegetated grounds from baseline:

A brief description of the institution's water-related behavior change initiatives, e.g. initiatives to shift individual attitudes and practices such as signage and competitions:

Annual Diversion and Conservation Challenge (ACDC)
Green Campus annually teams up with University Housing and Residential Life to host the Annual Diversion and Conservation Challenge (ACDC). ACDC pits residents of the 5 Red Brick Buildings against each other to reduce the most energy and water use in their buildings. Water and energy is tracked live using the Lucid Energy Dashboard during the two week competition. The winning hall, the hall that reduces the most energy and water as compared to their baseline, receives a grand prize of their choice worth up to $500. In 2017, ACDC water and energy use reductions saved University Housing over $2,000 in utilities expenditures and resulted in savings that continued throughout the academic year suggesting that the competition results in long term behavior changes for residents.


A brief description of the institution's water recovery and reuse initiatives:

While the Governor's 25% by 2016 reduction goal applied to personal water use only, Cal Poly's Drought Planning Group felt that in order to honor its commitment to resource stewardship and act on behalf of the water that the Governor's goal should apply to ALL Cal Poly water uses and expanded the scope to include landscaping, agriculture, and building water use.

Areas where turf was removed in response to the drought are being redesigned using drought tolerant and native plantings to create beautiful water-wise landscapes. After the popular Cal Poly Rodeo was held in Spanos Stadium for Open House 2016, which put significant strain on the underlying sports turf, Cal Poly chose to experiment with a new water conservation technology to help the field recover. AquaCents—an inert, non-toxic water-holding polymer—was injected at the turf’s root zone, holding water where the grass can make optimal use of it and decreasing the need for irrigation. Case studies show a potential 45 percent water savings with no reduction in turf health or appearance, and the technology is being evaluated for application on other large turf areas.

With a generous gift from numerous donors led by the Doerr Family, Cal Poly’s football and soccer practice facility was completely renovated—receiving a new scoreboard, goalposts, soccer goals, filming towers, and a 140-yard synthetic turf field—eliminating the need to irrigate nearly two acres of turf.

To make the best use of limited regional water resources, Cal Poly is also collaborating with the City of San Luis Obispo to evaluate opportunities to procure or produce recycled water for use on landscape and agricultural land. Use of recycled water for these purposes will free up potable water supply to serve some of the new buildings and facilities envisioned by the new Master Plan.

While water reduction efforts are ongoing across campus, the projects that have been implemented as of December 2015 have already resulted in a reduction to ALL water uses by 31%, surpassing the Governors 25% potable water use reduction mandate. This effort has saved 141,419,521 gallons and has generating over $500,000 in water and sewer utility costs savings compared to the 2013 baseline.

A brief description of the institution's initiatives to replace plumbing fixtures, fittings, appliances, equipment, and systems with water-efficient alternatives (e.g. building retrofits):

In 2013, to achieve drought reduction mandates, a Drought Planning Group was convened to identify short and long term conservation measures and operational changes. This group included representatives from Facility Management and Development, Environmental Health and Safety, University Housing, Associated Students Incorporated, the Cal Poly Corporation, and CAFES Ag Operations. This group was responsible for creating Cal Poly's Drought Response Plan.

From the Drought Response Plan, three primary short term conservation measures and one longer term infrastructure measure were prioritized. The short term conservation measures include building plumbing systems, automated landscape irrigation management, and precision-irrigated agricultural operations. The long term infrastructure measure is the development of sources of recycled water in cooperation with the City of San Luis Obispo. A strategic approach was implemented to meet these goals involving all effected stakeholders in the planning process and within the three main operational areas a variety of suggested retrofits, upgrades, and improvements were implemented.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.