CONTACT: Stanford University News Service (650) 723-2558

Stanford given rebate for water conservation

STANFORD -- Stanford University received a check for $244,697.75 on July 23 from the San Francisco Water Department for reversing a water usage trend that led to fines of a like amount last fall.

_David Kaye, the university's utilities manager, said that just as Stanford was fined for each gallon of water it used in excess of an allocated drought figure last summer and early fall, the institution received credit for each gallon it saved.

The total amount of the credit was $302,629.91. Of that amount, $57.932.16 was used as credit to pay the June water bill.

Over the winter, a combination of conservation programs and increased use of well water helped reduce Stanford's reliance on water supplied by San Francisco from its Hetch Hetchy reservoir system.

By May 1991, the conservation efforts had begun to work so well that the university was able to switch off its wells -- and still remain within the daily Hetch Hetchy water allotment.

The allotments change from month to month and are based on 1987-88 usage patterns. Overall, Hetchy Hetchy's residential and institutional customers were asked to reduce water use by an average of 25 percent starting last summer.

The 1987-88 usage patterns were affected by relatively normal rainfall during some of those months. The corresponding months in 1990-91 were far drier, with the exception of March.

For the first four months of the rationing period, Stanford used far too much water and was fined a total of more than $300,000 from August to November 1990. The "corner was turned" around December, and every month of 1991 has seen usage within the allotment, Kaye said.

The steps taken to reduce water use included installing meters at all faculty and staff residences, intensifying recycling efforts, reducing irrigation by letting some landscaping die and replacing non-efficient plantings in other areas, reducing institutional use (such as washing official university vehicles) and maintaining a public awareness program that used the slogan, "Save Water Now!"



This is an archived release.

This release is not available in any other form. Images mentioned in this release are not available online.
Stanford News Service has an extensive library of images, some of which may be available to you online. Direct your request by EMail to newslibrary@stanford.edu.