Stanford’s fountains to begin flowing again
The university will begin bringing its fountains back to life starting today, starting with Centennial Fountain in front of Green Library, Tanner Fountain in front of Memorial Auditorium, and White Memorial Fountain in front of Stanford Bookstore. All campus fountains are expected to be up and running by Monday.
Since Stanford voluntarily turned off its fountains two years ago in response to California’s prolonged drought, the university has implemented campus-wide water conservation measures that have significantly reduced water consumption.
While campus fountains were not subject to the state’s 2014 emergency water conservation regulations because they use recirculated water, Stanford decided to turn them off to conserve water from non-essential uses.
Since then, the university has assessed the water consumption of the fountains, identified problems – including leaky valves and pipes – and fixed them. In addition, Stanford surveyed each fountain to ensure water meters were installed and functioning.
“Although the fountains were not part of the drought restriction mandates, we elected to temporarily turn them off while we assessed our water use and implemented university-wide conservation measures,” said Jack Cleary, associate vice president, academic projects and operations in Land, Buildings & Real Estate.
“We have been successful in our efforts and have determined that, after nearly two years of significant conservation on campus, we can return to operating the fountains without impacting our ongoing efforts. We consider these water features important to the character of the campus and will continue to maintain and operate them optimally.”
In 2015, Stanford used 25 percent less domestic (drinkable) water than it did in 2013. The university attributed the reduction to its comprehensive new energy system, Stanford Energy Systems Innovations; renovations and repairs to campus irrigation systems, and two-day-per-week watering; and reduced water consumption by the Stanford community.
Cleary said Stanford will begin bringing its 18 fountains back to life starting today. All campus fountains are expected to be up and running by Monday.
The first fountains that will be brought back on line will be Centennial Fountain in front of Green Library, Tanner Fountain in front of Memorial Auditorium, and White Memorial Fountain – otherwise known as “The Claw” – in front of Stanford Bookstore.
Stanford’s fountains require about 50,000 gallons of water to fill and use several thousand gallons a day to replenish water lost through evaporation, splashing and other factors – accounting for less than 0.5 percent of the university’s annual domestic water use.
Stanford has a comprehensive maintenance program for the fountains that the university will continue to follow, now that the temporary shutdown has ended.
Despite recent rains, California is still experiencing a drought. In February, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted an extended and revised emergency regulation to ensure that urban water conservation continues in 2016. The regulation extends restrictions on urban water use through October 2016 while providing urban water suppliers more flexibility in meeting their conservation requirements. It also directs staff to report back on additional flexibility once more complete water supply information is known in April.