Water Goals

water icon roundUC BERKELEY GOAL: Reduce potable water use to 10% below 2008 levels by 2020.

STATUS: Achieved

SYSTEM-WIDE GOAL:  Reduce growth adjusted potable water consumption by 36% by 2025 compared to the three-year average baseline of 2006-2008.

STATUS: Achieved

Campus Performance Overview

In 2019, the campus used 584 million gallons of water, which is a 24% decrease since 2008. In 2019, the campus met the UC 2025 reduction goal.

  • From 2007 to 2019, per person water usage decreased by 37%.
  • About half of the water consumed on campus is domestic (toilets,urinals, showers, and faucets), divided equally between residence halls and all other campus buildings.
  • About one-quarter of usage is in lab buildings (excluding their domestic usage), with irrigation and the steam plant each using about 10% of the total.
  • Over 90% of irrigation systems are automated and connected to a weather station. Approximately 24,000 gallons of rainwater are reused each year for irrigation at the Boalt Law School, and there is a stormwater capture and reuse system at Eshleman Hall and Chou Hall.

Drought Response

Water is an increasingly scarce resource in California, due to population growth and drought. In past years, the East Bay Municipal Utility District has declared droughts and implemented drought management plans that seek to reduce regional water use. Water conservation is even more important when the energy associated with transportation and treatment of water is analyzed. Since drought is an increasingly common phenomenon in California, the campus response is to be proactive, from fixing leaks to changing behaviors to finding long-term reduction solutions. See more on the campus drought response.

graph of water consumption at UC Berkeley in 2018

STARS Performance Overview

Water Category

According to STARS, "This subcategory seeks to recognize institutions that are conserving water, making efforts to protect water quality and treating water as a resource rather than a waste product. Pumping, delivering, and treating water is a major driver of energy consumption, so institutions can help reduce energy use and the greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy generation by conserving water. Likewise, conservation, water recycling and reuse, and effective rainwater management practices are important in maintaining and protecting finite groundwater supplies. Water conservation and effective rainwater management also reduce the need for effluent discharge into local surface water supplies, which helps improve the health of local water ecosystems."

STARS notes that, "This credit is weighted more heavily for institutions located in areas of water stress and scarcity and less heavily for institutions in areas with relative water abundance."

Berkeley's STARS Performance

Total Points Available: 6.00

Water Points Claimed: 5.82

  • As California has struggled with multiple years of drought, UC Berkeley has deployed water-saving strategies that have lowered per-person water use to some of the most efficient levels in the country.
  • Research and doctoral institutions on average captured about half of available Water category points, compared to 97% of points captured by UC Berkeley.
  • The campus also scored full points in the STARS Rainwater Management field due to its Low-Impact Development rainwater practices for all new developments. 
  • UC Berkeley follows a Campus Stormwater Management Plan that monitors water pollutant-releases by non construction-related operations on campus.


Check out David Sedlak’s presentation: “What are the most promising approaches to providing water in a hotter, drier world?”

Water Highlights

  • New construction and major renovation projects will maximize the number of water use reduction credits as part of the LEED™ certification process.
  • The campus implements Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans for all campus construction projects to manage stormwater runoff and protect water quality.


Water Infographic

Download a flyer on tips for saving water

See more on the campus drought response.

Water use by categories