Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 58.26
Liaison Alexi Lamm
Submission Date Oct. 10, 2022

STARS v2.2

Utah State University
OP-21: Water Use

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.10 / 4.00 Jamie Pearce
Water Quality Engineer
"---" 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:
Low to Medium

Total water withdrawal (potable and non-potable combined):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total water withdrawal 407,162,240.30 Gallons 418,834,000 Gallons

Potable water use:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use 167,162,000.30 Gallons 294,261,000 Gallons

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Period July 1, 2020 June 30, 2021
Baseline Period July 1, 2008 June 30, 2009

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

We originally adopted 2007 since it is the year USU became a signatory to the ACUPCC. Because of mistakes in previous metering data, we changed the baseline year to FY 2009 rather than FY 2007. Starting with FY 2008, we had over a year’s worth of water meter data recorded in our computer program, the same program that we used until July 2021. We now have a new program that we will use for future data but we can still also access past data. Additionally, we had full access to housing metering records starting with FY 2009.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users":
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 3,383 2,200
Number of employees resident on-site 100 100
Number of other individuals resident on-site 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 16,770 14,211
Full-time equivalent of employees 2,774 2,405
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 4,583 279
Weighted campus users 12,091.50 12,827.75

Potable water use per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use per weighted campus user 13,824.75 Gallons 22,939.41 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 7,291,566 Gross Square Feet 6,443,561 Gross Square Feet

Potable water use per unit of floor area:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use per unit of floor area 22.93 Gallons / GSF 45.67 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 516.50 Acres 480 Acres

Total water withdrawal per unit of vegetated grounds:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total water withdrawal per unit of vegetated grounds 788,310.24 Gallons / Acre 872,570.83 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:

The total campus is 875.2 acres. Of the total, 356.7 is paved area and buildings and 518.5 is grass, planters, and natural areas.

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

Untreated water is used for irrigation.

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

Last year USU replaced the faucets in six buildings with auto shut off faucets and a lower flow aerator (cost over $105,000). The plumbing shop has also been changing all the flush valves on the urinals and toilets to auto flush valves with a lower gallon per flush diaphragm. It is now common practice to replace worn or malfunctioning faucet or flush valves with an auto faucet or flush valves.

Website URL where information about the institution’s water conservation and efficiency efforts is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

We have included outlying buildings on main campus that are on the city’s water system that have separate water meters. Previously there had been some mistakes in the water usage totals because some meters had been counted twice (water system production meters and individual building meters). This was corrected with the new reported numbers by using production meters on university connected buildings and individual building meters on the city’s water system.

The non-potable irrigation water was estimated based on past years' data. Since we do not have accurate university-owned meter data for secondary irrigation water from the canal or directly from the canal company at this time, we are using an estimate being generated for the state of Utah in response to House Bill 121, which requires a baseline for water reduction.

We are currently working on solutions to improve our metering of irrigation water and data collection. While culinary water is well metered, we expect that new state legislation will assist the university with more accurate metering on secondary water used for irrigation from the canal. We are also working with a consultant for improved drought efficiency, resilience, and conservation planning.

In FY 2021, an additional housing building, Blue Square, was included. Other housing buildings used more-- Aggie Village and Townhouses.

Our square footage numbers have greatly increased from the baseline as well. Within the last 13 years, we have built new buildings, where landscape once stood. We have also had many buildings donated, as well as purchased quite a bit of property over the years. Some of the difference can also be attributed to the way we maintain and update our records as well. We are constantly improving and updating every square foot that USU owns, therefore our data is always becoming more and more accurate.

The data shows a significant reduction in water use since FY 2009. We attribute the reduction to the university's monitoring, tracking, and comparing water usage each month to previous months and years to determine potential leaks and investigating unusual meter readings/usage. The rocky soil under central campus can make leaks difficult to detect without active monitoring, so the university also uses other methods of leak detection. Replacement of old water lines is another improvement to the system and in preventing/reducing leaks. Finally, student housing in a trailer court was removed. This area had significant leaks, and newer housing is more efficient.

Our data for landscaped acres are for lawn, planters, and natural landscapes.

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.