Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 83.80
Liaison Mark Maxwell
Submission Date March 1, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of California, Merced
OP-22: Water Use

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.79 / 5.00 Zuhair Mased
Director of Energy
Facilities Management
"---" 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:
Medium to High

Total water use (potable and non-potable combined):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total water use --- 52,293,667 Gallons

Potable water use:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use 92,230,076 Gallons 52,293,667 Gallons

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year July 1, 2017 June 30, 2018
Baseline Year July 1, 2005 June 30, 2008

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

Baseline established in alignment with UC System Sustainable Practices policy three year average from FY 2005-2008. Figures provided most accurately reflect campus water usage.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users":
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 2,293 588
Number of employees resident on-site 0 0
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 8,038 1,367
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 1,442 566
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 0 0
Weighted campus users 7,683.25 1,596.75

Potable water use per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use per weighted campus user 12,004.04 Gallons 32,750.07 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 1,777,565 Gross Square Feet 804,018 Gross Square Feet

Potable water use per unit of floor area:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use per unit of floor area 51.89 Gallons / GSF 65.04 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 45 Acres 70 Acres

Total water use (potable + non-potable) per unit of vegetated grounds:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total water use per unit of vegetated grounds 0 Gallons / Acre 747,052.39 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:

The campus has held water and energy battles in student housing that has contributed to water use reduction through behavioral changes. The Green Labs program on the UC Merced campus has also supported engaging faculty researchers to reduce water use in research labs.

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

The campus does not use non-potable water.

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):

The campus employs a number of strategies to help save water, and, as a byproduct, energy. Those efforts include: not watering some lawns; using an evapotranspiration-based irrigation system that senses weather and moisture and waters only when appropriate; reducing watering times by 28 percent; using sprinkler heads with more directed streams instead of wide sprays; being vigilant about repairs that can mitigate leaks, reduce or eliminate runoff, and improve irrigation efficiency; as well as the use of low-flow hardware in housing. The campus also worked to deploy Hydrogel which is an environmentally sound non-toxic biodegradable gel that increases moisture-retention capabilities and acts as a water and nutrient reservoir. The Hydrogel holds the moisture of water until root system needs it.

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

UC Merced is undergoing significant expansion that has included increases in campus building stocks and student/staff/faculty fte. Even with significant growth the campus has reduced its water consumption per capita.

Also, UC Merced has reduced building water usage by 40% less than comparable building stocks. Every campus building is certified LEED silver or better. UCM buildings have low-flow fixtures and touch less water faucets and as a rule. Buildings earn 80% of the USGBC LEED water credits.

The GSF reflected in performance year take into consideration all campus water usage, this includes offsite and leased facilities.

The campus built out reduced the total vegetated area on the university campus from baseline year to performance.

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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.