Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.36
Liaison Marianella Franklin
Submission Date Jan. 10, 2023

STARS v2.2

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
OP-21: Water Use

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 5.00 David Ortega
Asst Dir Cooling Plant
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 Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas:
Medium to High

Total water withdrawal (potable and non-potable combined):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total water withdrawal 205,631,000 Gallons 183,088,000 Gallons

Potable water use:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use 69,535,824 Gallons 62,353,000 Gallons

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Period Sept. 1, 2019 Aug. 31, 2020
Baseline Period Sept. 1, 2015 Aug. 31, 2016

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

The baseline was established and adopted to create a new record with the launching of the new university on September 1, 2015.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users":
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 830 600
Number of employees resident on-site 10 7
Number of other individuals resident on-site 7 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 23,161 17,959
Full-time equivalent of employees 4,466 3,081
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 8,444 2,851
Weighted campus users 14,604.25 13,793.50

Potable water use per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use per weighted campus user 4,761.34 Gallons 4,520.46 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 4,812,015 Gross Square Feet 3,973,611 Gross Square Feet

Potable water use per unit of floor area:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use per unit of floor area 14.45 Gallons / GSF 15.69 Gallons / GSF

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

Area of vegetated grounds:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Vegetated grounds 594 Acres 523 Acres

Total water withdrawal per unit of vegetated grounds:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total water withdrawal per unit of vegetated grounds 346,180.13 Gallons / Acre 350,072.66 Gallons / Acre

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

A brief description of the institution's water-related behavior change initiatives:

"Only Rain Down the Drain" signage instructs UTRGV patrons to respect aquatic life by not littering.

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

Due to water shortages in the Rio Grande Valley, it is imperative that we continue to develop and implement prudent water management solutions through Facilities Management.
The Edinburg campus, for example, uses 1.5 million gallons of water (chill water loops) to air condition its facilities year-round. In this case, the objective is to optimize the use of water treatment chemicals in order to minimize the use of make-up water necessary for building air conditioning in both open and closed loop systems.
All development plans include rain water management that is intended to reduce runoff volume and improve water quality by replicating the natural hydrology and water balance of the site. Typical examples include water gardens, which also add to the aesthetics of the location, and rainwater harvesting which collects rainfall runoff from the roofs of some select buildings and directs into the underground.
Over the years, Facilities Management staff has developed an infrastructure of programmable irrigation controllers and special designated meters to manage the use of irrigation water as well as cost. The use of these devices continues to be a significant factor in the university’s ability to effectively use water to keep the campus grounds green and beautiful throughout the year. Additionally, plants native to the region are used as campus decorative foliage which requires less water and maintenance for beautification. The Brownsville campus has air handler condensate recovery systems in most of the buildings served by cooling plant on the South side.

A brief description of the institution's initiatives to replace plumbing fixtures, fittings, appliances, equipment, and systems with water-efficient alternatives:

Several water fountains around campus were upgraded to with water-bottle refilling capabilities, and Water conservation has been built into the design and remodel of facilities. It is standard practice, for example, to specify bathroom fixtures such as toilets and urinals with low-flow features. Other strategies for conserving water should also be considered whenever possible; proven technologies include HVAC condensate drains and rainwater harvesting to reclaim water for new projects.
As a new University, we must be open to the possibility of incorporating unconventional sources of water such as resacas, well water, and municipal effluent water for cooling plant and landscape irrigation uses.

Website URL where information about the institution’s water conservation and efficiency efforts 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.