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Sustainable 2nd Century

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Take Action: Save Water

Your challenge: Turn off the water when you are not directly using it and report leaks.


Save water on campus

One important thing you can do to save water while on campus is to report leaks and other water waste. The UC Davis Building Maintenance Services group needs your help in reporting dripping faucets, running toilets, and other leaks. And, our Grounds division also wants to hear your reports of broken irrigation. Report leaks, broken fixtures and irrigation spray heads, and other water waste to Facilities Management by calling (530) 752-1655, filing a work order (the online work order requires a UC Davis login), or emailing facilities@ucdavis.edu.

Turn off the water when you aren't directly using it. So, turn the faucet off while you are lathering up, brushing your teeth, soaping up your dirty coffee mug, etc.

Send us your comments, questions, and water conservation ideas to savewater@ucdavis.edu.

Lab practices for saving water

When you are in your lab, there are several things you can do to save water.

First, be mindful of how you are using high quality water (deionized, reverse osmosis, distilled); use it as sparingly as you can because for every gallon made of these highly processed waters, there is about a quart of "rejected" water sent to the drain. Those quarts add up across all of our labs over the year.

Second, don't "overwash" dishes: If you are using a dishwasher, choose the correct settings for the type of labware you are actually running through, and don't set dishes under a running faucet and walk away. The practice wastes tap or processed water unnecessarily. Set up five wash basins: (1) soap and water; (2) tap water rinse; (3) 2, 5, or 10 percent hydrochloric acid rinse; (4) and (5) two separate deionized water rinse basins. Rewash your plastic wares and save money. This practice has a documented efficacy over an old-style practice of setting labware under running water.

Third, when you are replacing equipment that employs single-pass water cooling, replace it with equipment that uses a closed-loop cooling system, or that can be placed on the campus chilled water loop. Read more about how the UC Davis Chemistry department did this and is saving about 2 million gallons (more than 7.5 million liters) per year of drinking water, in addition to saving money on helium recovery.

Fourth, eliminate vacuum aspirators, and use a vacuum pump for the same task; this can save about 238 gallons (900 liters) of water per hour of use and avoid the possibility of contaminating water with solvent residue.

Fifth, report leaks or any other plumbing issue in the lab. To report, you can call (530) 752-1655, file a work order (the online workorder requires a UC Davis login and password), or email facilities@ucdavis.edu. Your lab will save water, eliminate unnecessary leaks, and be a good steward of campus resources.

Send your questions, comments or water conservation ideas to savewater@ucdavis.edu.

Save water at your residence

Whether you are in a dorm on campus, or living off-campus, UC Davis Student Housing and the State of California have some good tips for saving water.

Plants with tags that say "All Stars" on them

Choose efficient plants

An important component to sustainable landscaping is choosing the right plants. The UC Davis Arboretum recommends 100 reliable perennials, groundcovers, shrubs, vines and trees especially well-suited to California environments. Many of these Arboretum All-Star plants are drought-tolerant, California natives with few pest or disease problems.

UC Verde buffalo grass is another conservation option; it is used on campus and can help you save 75 percent of the water normally needed for your lawn. The grass, developed by UC scientists, is very slow growing so it needs less water and less mowing than other grass varieties. 

Use smart maintenance methods

Reduce your water, energy, and chemical use while maintaining your landscape at home. You can learn about environmentally friendly gardening practices such as using mulch, water-saving irrigation systems, companion plantings, and biological pest control at the UC Davis Arboretum.

Other sustainable landscaping tips:

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