Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 71.86
Liaison Elida Erickson
Submission Date March 23, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of California, Santa Cruz
OP-26: Water Use

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 5.00 / 5.00 Elida Erickson
Sustainability Director
Sustainability Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Level of water risk for the institution’s main campus:

Total water use (potable and non-potable combined)::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total water use 152,775,512 Gallons 206,700,000 Gallons

Potable water use::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use 152,775,512 Gallons 206,700,000 Gallons

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users"::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of residential students 8,293 6,023
Number of residential employees 301 0
Number of in-patient hospital beds 0 0
Full-time equivalent enrollment 17,544 14,281
Full-time equivalent of employees 3,549 3,438
Full-time equivalent of distance education students 0 0

Gross floor area of building space::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Gross floor area 5,541,682 Square feet 4,638,824 Square feet

Area of vegetated grounds::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Vegetated grounds 55 Acres 45 Acres

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year July 1, 2014 June 30, 2015
Baseline Year July 1, 2002 June 30, 2005

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

This matches existing mandatory reporting requirements to our local municipality and UC Office of the President.

Water recycled/reused on campus, performance year:

Recycled/reused water withdrawn from off-campus sources, performance year:

A brief description of any water recovery and reuse systems employed by the institution:

A brief description of any water metering and management systems employed by the institution:

95% of buildings on campus has individual water metering. The other 5% of buildings are metered in a group.

Vegetated grounds baseline year is 2000, the only other year where this data is available.

A brief description of any building retrofit practices employed by the institution, e.g. to install high efficiency plumbing fixtures and fittings:

A Major Maintenance program retrofits buildings annually. A top priority of the program is to upgrade all plumbing fixtures to the highest efficiency technology available.

A brief description of any policies or programs employed by the institution to replace appliances, equipment and systems with water-efficient alternatives:

As part of the campus' response to the drought, a Water Working Group made up of the campus' primary water users was convened in 2014. Users proposed several water efficiency projects for their units, and over $100,000 of funds were awarded for projects including increased metering, piloting autoclave water re-use systems in labs, and recycling sea water for marine mammal washings.

A brief description of any water-efficient landscape design practices employed by the institution (e.g. xeriscaping):

UCSC has incorporated these practices into the campus planning standards, excerpted here. Visit the URL for full document.

General Planting Selection:
a. Planting areas outside building compounds should relate to the surrounding native
plant community and utilize native plants, closely related species, or, in specific and
limited locations, ornamentals successfully used on campus.
b. Planting areas within building compounds should respond to the uses and functions
of the buildings and spaces: providing sunny seating areas, shady resting areas,
colorful entries, and screening or buffers when necessary. Plant sizes should be chosen to assure long term adaptability to specific site locations.
c. Ground covers and vegetation shall be designed to minimize erosion.

3. Water Usage:
Selected plant species should be water efficient, requiring little or no irrigation, so as not to affect drainage and availability of water to existing native species, and to minimize water usage on campus.
4. Maintenance:
Plant materials should be selected for ease of maintenance so as not to require
substantial pruning, leaf and litter collection,or pest control. Avoid large deciduous trees
in interior courtyards that require substantial leaf collection.
5. Invasive plantings of non-native species should be avoided, to protect the natural floral diversity.
6. Fire Resistant Planting should be chosen in
areas of high fire hazard such as within the
chaparral plant community.
7. Deer Resistant Planting required
8. Lawn Areas:
a. Minimize lawn areas to conserve water usage on campus within a new building
complex. (General lawn areas are to be specified according to each particular
project program requirements.) When lawn areas are provided, provide a few larger
areas of lawn, as opposed to many smaller patches of lawn, in order to minimize
maintenance costs.
b. In layout of lawn areas and other specialized landscape areas, consider the ease of
lawn mower or other maintenance equipment access to such areas.
The Appendices contain a list of native plants, non-native plants, and grass mixes that
have been observed to do well on campus. Deviations from this list must be submitted for approval.

A brief description of any weather-informed irrigation technologies employed by the institution:

UCSC Operates 26 of the major irrigation zones, including all recreational fields using centralized control with radio communication and RainMaster OASIS Advance Et. Rain Master's Advanced ET water management system provides the most sophisticated tool in the industry, tailored after the university accepted "water budget" method of irrigation. Advanced ET uses the latest scientific principles and methodologies, considering such factors: monthly plant crop coefficients, soil types, slope, precipitation, distribution uniformity, root zone depth, management allowable depletion, etc. to track the percentage of moisture maintained within the root zone on a per station basis. Central software automatically determines the proper frequency of application, run times, and water days, to insure that no runoff, deep percolation, or any form of water loss occurs. Equally important, the Rain Master system insures that your landscape obtains the right amount of water at the right time resulting in healthy robust plants.

Total accountability. In order for any system to be effective, the total water entering and leaving the root zone must be accurately measured. Accurate measurement of ET and rainfall is mandatory. Rain Master's weather center provides a direct method of measuring ET based upon one simple principle, evaporation. Because the central system utilizes water usage statistics obtained from the field satellite controller, precise accountability for all irrigation is possible. For example, if an automatic rain shutdown or wind shutdown should occur, lost irrigation will automatically be tracked and "made up" without any operator intervention. In a similar fashion, should any supplemental manual watering be performed, Advanced ET shall account for this by reducing the next scheduled irrigation cycle by the appropriate amount.

The remaining 80 independent irrigation controllers are updated manually based on run times calculated by the same et loss method using average monthly et.

A brief description of other water conservation and efficiency strategies employed by the institution:

ET based scheduling as per above. New systems are designed for maximum irrigation distribution uniformity. Old systems are retrofitted for maximum irrigation distribution uniformity. Systems are maintained for optimum performance. Central control systems have automatic leak detection and response. Manual system breaks and leaks are responded to rapidly.
Landscape areas are mulched using ~3" of campus generated wood chip mulch wherever appropriate.
Irrigation application complies with city drought restrictions when in effect.

The website URL where information about the institution’s water conservation and efficiency initiatives is available:
Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

The baseline period for UCSC tracks the annual average over three years from July 2002-June 2005.

Baseline year for Gross Floor Area of Building Space is 2003, the most relevant data available that aligns with one year of the 3-year water baseline period.

The vegetated grounds figure excludes the 1200 acre Campus Natural Reserve area, which is not irrigated.

The baseline period for UCSC tracks the annual average over three years from July 2002-June 2005.

Baseline year for Gross Floor Area of Building Space is 2003, the most relevant data available that aligns with one year of the 3-year water baseline period.

The vegetated grounds figure excludes the 1200 acre Campus Natural Reserve area, which is not irrigated.

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.