Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 56.23
Liaison Jim Walker
Submission Date June 14, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Texas at Austin
IN-25: Innovation B

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Markus Hogue
Program Coordinator, Irrigation
Landscape Services
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Water Waste Reduction

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

In 2017, the University of Texas at Austin received the Texas Environmental Excellence Award from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The new irrigation system reduced water use by 66% after implementation.

Adapted from Campus Sustainability Plan:

UT Austin recognizes water as a critical resource in the region with the dual pressures of chronic drought and rapid population growth. The Natural Resource Conservation Plan for the university set an ambitious sustainability goal of reducing campus water consumption by 20% by the year 2020, with a baseline of 2009. By FY2014, UT Austin worked to meet this goal by avoiding 21% of water consumption by managing domestic water, irrigation upgrades, utilization of reclaimed water, and water recovery strategies. With rising rates and scarcity of resources, we are committed to doing more on campus to reduce our use of water and being leaders through innovation and dedication.

Additional strategies to support the water waste reduction goal and that helped UT Austin earn the Texas Environmental Excellence Award from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality include doing the following on campus:

•Develop standards for design, installation and maintenance of cisterns on campus
•Continue research on opportunities for switching irrigation zones to non-potable sources
•Investigate expansion of recovered water system for making up evaporative losses in cooling towers
•Update water fixture standards
•Evaluate reduction of once-through water use in labs
•Establish baselines of campus equipment’s utilization of water
•Evaluate feasibility of net zero water buildings on campus

Excerpt from press release:

"The majority of the university’s water use is credited to the upkeep of the campus’ beautiful landscape features; such as its lovely lawns, calming fountains, and stunning flowerbeds, so trimming that landscape water use was key to meeting the president’s goal. An audit of the university’s irrigation system revealed it lacked the ability to monitor and adjust water use during irrigation and at times of drought, which would significantly reduce the amount of water used on campus.

Armed with these audit findings, Markus Hogue, a licensed irrigator for the campus, spent the last six years redesigning and updating the university’s central irrigation system. The new system includes a live weather feed, evapotranspiration data mechanisms, rain buckets, low precipitation nozzles, flow monitoring with the ability to regulate irrigation schedules, and leak detection that automatically shuts down leaks in the system.


Through this program, the University of Texas at Austin is decreasing the burden on water resources while serving as a model for other institutions around the world."

Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :

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

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