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Hetch Hetchy Reservoir

Stanford's Drinking Water

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Stanford purchases high-quality drinking water from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) for the academic campus and both faculty and student on-campus residential areas.

SFPUC's main water source originates from spring snowmelt flowing down the Tuolumne River to storage in Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. Learn more about Stanford's drinking water supply sources

Drinking Water Quality Assurance

The SFPUC collects daily water quality samples from various locations within their transmission system. The samples are analyzed for primary standards that apply to the protection of public health and secondary standards that refer to the aesthetic qualities of water, such as taste and odor.

Stanford routinely collects water quality samples from various locations within the campus distribution system. Samples are analyzed for coliform bacteria, chlorine residual, and general physical parameters. Supplementary water quality samples are collected to monitor for additional constituents in compliance with the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) Division of Drinking Water requirements. Distribution operators or certified laboratory staff analyze all samples, and the university submits monthly reports that include monitoring results to the SWRCB. Stanford maintains flushing, cross-connection control, and backflow prevention programs to ensure a consistent high-quality drinking water supply. For more information about Stanford's water resources and quality, review the annual water quality reports


SFPUC uses chloramine to maintain disinfectant residual in the water that is distributed to Stanford University and much of the Bay Area. Chloramine is a mixture of chlorine and ammonia, and lasts longer in the distribution system for added protection against bacterial and viral contamination.


The SFPUC fluoridates the water and collects daily samples to monitor fluoride concentrations. Fluoride is added to reach the optimum levels, as determined and regulated by the Centers for Disease Control and the SWRCB.