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Due to the improved water supply conditions, many of the water use restrictions put in place in 2021-2022 are now rescinded. Please see the Water Supply Conditions page for updates.

Last updated: April 2023


In 2021 and 2022, Stanford responded to drought conditions by asking all water users to follow actions to achieve water savings. Those water use restrictions are reserved below for reference. 

  • Irrigation on Faculty and Staff Housing ornamental landscaping and lawns may occur on Tuesday and Friday nights for even numbered addresses, and Monday and Thursday nights for odd numbered addresses (and those areas without an address), between the hours of 7:00 pm and 7:00 am. (except to ensure continued health of trees, perennial non-turf plantings and food gardens).
  • Irrigation of non-functional turf with potable water is prohibited in institutional and multifamily areas (unless supporting tree health). “Non-functional turf” is turf that is solely ornamental and not regularly used for human recreational purposes or for community events. Non-functional turf does not include sports fields and turf that is regularly used for human recreational purposes.
  • Irrigation (both domestic and lake water) on ornamental landscaping and non-functional turf may occur no more than two days per week.  (for non-residential customers who irrigate via zone, irrigation of ornamental landscapes is permitted on more than two days per week, so long as each irrigation zone within an individual property is irrigated no more than two days per week.)
  • Asking that functional turf areas (both domestic and lake water) be stressed based on priority list as appropriate to achieve at least 15% reduction from 2019 use (e.g., non-varsity fields, fairways, lawns within malls/courtyards, etc.)
  • Continue to comply with water waste prohibitions in place since 2014:
    • Using potable water to wash sidewalks and driveways (except for health and safety needs);
    • Allowing more than incidental runoff when irrigating turf and other ornamental landscapes;
    • Using hoses without automatic shutoff nozzles to wash motor vehicles;
    • Using potable water in ornamental fountains or decorative water features that do not recirculate the water;
    • Irrigating turf and ornamental landscape during and within 48 hours following measurable rainfall.

Last updated: April 2023

    Stanford Water History

    Graph showing 50% decline in domestic water consumption and 4 million square foot increase in campus area from 2001 to 2021

    Stanford has an extensive history of effective water conservation efforts. With different water supplies for campus, Stanford Water Resources and Civil Infrastructure is able to manage available resources to meet campus needs, while preserving ecological systems and vital resources for future generations. Majority of the athletic fields, the golf course, and campus landscaping are irrigated using the non-potable lake water system. Campus groups across the University have worked diligently to conserve water, achieving a 48% reduction in domestic water use from 2001 to 2021 even as campus grew.

    Past and ongoing conservation projects include:

    Stanford Water Resources & Civil Infrastructure continues to accelerate multiple water conservation efforts:

    • WaterSmart dashboard for detecting leaks and reaching top water users
    • Outreach to the campus community through educational materials, webinars, and water use report cards
    • New discount program for Rachio smart controllers
    • Meetings with campus groups to identify additional savings, especially in outdoor landscaping


    Felt Reservoir

    Drought in California

    US Drought Monitor map of California for June 14, 2022 showing 97% of the state in severe drought

    In 2022, nearly all of California was in severe to exceptional drought, according to the US Drought Monitor

    California's climate is prone to large fluctuations in precipitation from year to year. Making water conservation a Stanford way of life ensures we are resilient to these inevitable water shortages and protects the ecosystems our water is sourced from.

    Thank you for all your efforts to conserve water!