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Conservation Tips

When it comes to saving water, even small behaviors can have a big impact. Click on the categories below to find helpful tips on how you can help conserve water.


nature_people Water Saving Ideas for Outdoor Areas

  • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean sidewalks, driveways and patios.
  • Do not let the water run while washing your car. Install an adjustable spray nozzle on your hose. Clean your car using a bucket and sponge, then spray the car down to rinse it.
  • A better alternative to washing your car yourself is to take it to a commercial car wash that recycles its water. A commercial car wash can use water more efficiently, and you will be protecting San Francisco Bay from the dirty, soapy water that would have gone down the storm drain in your street and straight into the Bay.
  • Instead of running sprinklers to cool off during the summer, go to the local pool.
  • Using a pool cover can save up to 90% of water lost to evaporation.  Check your pool for leaks.  
  • Look for leaks or geysers in the campus sprinkler system. If you notice a leak in student campus housing, contact your Facilities Supervisor. If you notice a leak near a campus building or open space area on campus please call Maintenance Customer Service at (650) 723-2281 to report it.

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local_florist Water Saving Ideas for the Lawn and Garden

  • Water your lawn only when it needs it. To check, step on the grass. If it springs back up after you move, it does not need water. If it stays flat, then it's time to water.
  • Implement a cycle and soak approach for watering your lawn to prevent runoff while giving your lawn a deep watering. Schedule short runtimes followed by rest periods where the water can soak in. If needed, do a second short watering.
  • Set your irrigation system to run in the early morning or late evening, when the water is less likely to be lost due to evaporation or wind.
  • Do not water the gutter, sidewalks and driveways. Position sprinklers so water lands on the lawn or garden, not on paved areas.
  • Inspect your landscaping often for leaks in pipes, hoses, faucets, sprinklers and couplings. Small leaks can add up to large water loss. Single family home residents can sign up for leak alerts through the WaterSmart Portal.
  • Schedule a Water-wise Outdoor Survey with Valley Water to get free professional advice on your irrigation system.
  • Get rid of weeds, which compete with your ornamental plants for water.
  • Put down a layer of mulch around trees and plants. Mulch will slow evaporation of moisture and discourage weed growth. For an extensive landscaping guide, visit the San Jose Water Company's Water-Wise Gardening page.
  • Utilize native and drought-tolerant plants in your garden. Visit Stanford's Water-Wise Demonstration Garden, located off Raimundo Way, to view local examples of native and drought resistant landscaping options.
  • See the Water-Wise Plants list from the Santa Clara County Master Gardeners for a compilation of beautiful species that thrive in the Bay Area's dry summer climate. Visit a local Water-Wise nursery or native plant nursery.
  • Check out Valley Water's photo gallery and the San Jose Water Company's Wise-Wise Gardening page for drought tolerant gardening ideas.
  • Get a rebate for converting to water-wise landscaping, upgrading your irrigation equipment, or switching to drip irrigation.
  • Attend a free landscape education class from the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency (BAWSCA) to learn about water-wise gardening techniques.

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wc Water Saving Ideas for the Bathroom

  • Do not use toilets as a trash can. Each time you flush trash down the toilet you waste up to seven gallons of water.
  • Take shorter showers. Long, hot showers use between two and ten gallons of water every minute.
  • Install water-saving shower heads or flow restrictors. You can pick up inexpensive, easy to install devices from your local hardware or plumbing store. Stanford residents may qualify for free showerheads, aerators, and toilet flappers upon completion of Valley Water's Do-It-Yourself Indoor Survey Kit, which helps you test for leaks and discover the flow rates of different fixtures. Find a digital version at the Valley Water website, or contact the Water Planning & Stewardship team for a physical copy.
  • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth. Run as much as you need, then turn off the tap until you need some more.
  • Rinse your razor in the sink. Fill the bottom of the sink with a few inches of warm water. You can rinse your blade just as easily as with running water and a lot less wastefully.
  • Check your toilets for leaks. Listen for water running or hissing when the toilet is not in use or drop a little food coloring or leak tablet into your toilet tank. Wait a few minutes. If color shows up in your bowl (without flushing the toilet), you have a leak. A leaking toilet can waste over 60 gallons of water per day.
  • Install a low flow toilet. High Efficiency toilet models use 1.28 gallons per flush, considerably less then older models which use up to 6 gallons per flush. An in-depth look at the different low flow models is available for review at MAP Test.
  • Look for leaks in faucets, pipes, toilets. If you discover a leak in student campus housing, contact your Facilities Supervisor. If you notice a leak in a building or area on campus please call Maintenance Customer Service at (650) 723-2281 to report it. Single family home residents can sign up for leak alerts through the WaterSmart Portal.

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kitchenlocal_laundry_service Water Saving Ideas for the Kitchen and Laundry

  • When using your dishwasher, run only full loads. Learn more about water and energy efficient dishwashers at the EPA's Energy Star or Watersense websites.
  • If washing by hand, use a sink full of water instead of continuously running the faucet.
  • Collect clean water from your kitchen faucet by keeping a small bucket or bowl in/near the sink. Use the collected water on your houseplants or outdoor container plants.
  • Look for new water efficient washing machines at the EPA Energy Star website.
  • Store a pitcher of water in the refrigerator for drinking. You won't have to let your faucet run to get a cold glass of water!
  • Wash only full loads of laundry or adjust the setting on the machine for small, medium and large laundry loads.

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Water Resources and Civil Infrastructure
LBRE Operations (24 hour line): 650-723-2281
Water Information Line: 650-725-8030