Stay Informed

water crisis

We’re in a water crisis.  The Governor and the UC President has asked UCSF community to take all actions to save water wherever we can.  In response to the UC President Napolitano announced goal of reducing per capita water use by 20 percent by 2020, UCSF has committed to the following:

• Accelerate and expand leak detection program and/or install “report a leak” sticker to engage the campus community.
• Reduce research/agricultural water consumption
• Implement an education outreach water conservation campaign targeting office, laboratories and student housing
• Provide incentive for paying customer that reduce water and fee hikes for users that do not.
• Prioritize energy efficiency retrofit and deferred maintenance projects that also result in water savings.
•  Incorporate water-saving guidelines for new facilities into the Campus Standards and Design Guide.

Save water on campus
Join your colleagues across the campus community to save water.  Report water leaks and other water waste. The UC San Francisco Facilities Services needs your help in reporting dripping faucets, running toilets, and other leaks. There is no charge for these requests.  Our Landscaping & Grounds unit encourages reporting of broken irrigation.  Report leaks, broken fixtures and irrigation spray heads, and other water waste to the Customer Service Center by calling (415) 476-2021, filing a work order, or emailing .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).  At the Medical Center, please call (415)353-1120 to request a free repair.

Report water leaks

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 your comments and questions to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or any bright ideas about specific water conservation activities with details to

Find our more! Go to SaveOurH2O

Lab practices for saving water
When you are in your lab, there are several things you can do to save water.
1.  Be mindful of how you are using high quality water (deionized, reverse osmosis, distilled); use it as sparingly as you can because for every four gallon made of these highly processed waters, there is one gallon of “rejected” water sent to the drain. Consider alternatives to stand-alone reverse osmosis and other purification systems. Are they really necessary?

2.  Don’t “overwash” dishes/glassware:  If you are using a dish- or glasswasher, choose the correct settings for the type of labware you are actually running through, and don’t set dishes/glassware under a running faucet and walk away.  This 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.  Steris glasswashers can be set to reuse the last rinsewater for the next wash cycle.  Contact Facilities Services to request this.

3.  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.  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.

4.  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.

5.  Evaluate programming cycles loaded onto autoclaves and verify that programs match purpose.  Determine which autoclaves/sterilizers are at the end of their life cycle and consider Facilities Service recommendations for energy and water efficient replacements. Ensure that written standard operating procedures (developed from the manufacturer’s instructions) are kept nearby and followed.

6.  Re-evaluate habits/practices to ensure they adhere to current best practice standards and avoid developing long-term habits/practices that have been exaggerated over time. (Example: setting timers on autoclaves to wash longer than necessary is a common habit that becomes common practice over time so that lab staff no longer are adhering to more efficient standards)

7. Report leaks or any other plumbing issue in the lab. To report, you can call (415) 476-2021, filing a work order, or emailing .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Your lab will save water, eliminate unnecessary leaks, and be a good steward of campus resources.

Send your comments and questions to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or any ideas about water conservation to

Save water at your residence
Whether you are in campus housing or living off-campus, UC San Francisco CLS Housing and the State of California have some good tips for saving water. 

Living in campus housing?  Get your free 5-minute shower timers at the Housing office available while they last.

For a succinct summary of the drought, see this New York Times video.


Governor Brown Declares Drought State of Emergency
UC President Announces 20% Cut in UC Water Use
UC President’s Drought Response Letter
UCSF’s Draft Water Action Plan
Chancellor’s Letter to UCSF