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Stanford urging continued water conservation

STANFORD -- Stanford University officials are asking the roughly 30,000 people who are on campus in an average day again to reduce water usage.

As the region enters what could be a sixth straight drought year, the university is facing, in the same proportion as last year, reductions in water allotments from San Francisco's Hetch Hetchy reservoir system, according to Michael McKnight, utilities manager.

The allocations from the San Francisco Water Department, Stanford's primary supplier, were 3,400 units of water per day in October, 2,300 a day in November and 2,000 a day in December. (One unit equals 748 gallons.) The allocations are calculated to reduce usage an average of 25 percent from 1986-87 levels; that year, winter rains were closer to normal than last year.

Last fall, Stanford at first used much more water than allocated and racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties; a successful conservation program reversed that, and Stanford finished the season with a healthy surplus of units in the Hetch Hetchy water bank, McKnight said.

In recent weeks, the university has had to dip into that supply of reserves to avoid additional fines, he said.

"We need to be very careful" this winter, McKnight warned.

In late November, all non-critical irrigation was eliminated, and many areas are being watered with non-potable reclaimed water. The School of Medicine and the Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation have been asked to reduce water usage, and campus residents are again being asked to reduce individual use by not washing vehicles, taking shorter showers, checking for leaks and drips, and alerting Maintenance Customer Service at 723- 2281 if they see leaks or instances of obvious waste.

The effectiveness of the steps taken so far will be evaluated on Dec. 9; if further actions seem necessary they will be announced after that.



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