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Recycling of Water

Conservation Actions

In February 2003, Santa Clara University worked in conjunction with the city of San Jose to install specialized connections for the use of Recycled Water for irrigation purposes. Within one year, the University achieved the following results:

  • April 2003 - October 2004; 570,257,180 gallons of recycled water used for irrigation
  • Over a 30% decrease in water costs
  • Only two plant species found to be incompatible
  • No ill effects to humans or animals
  • Overall decrease of potable water consumption by 60%

Beginning in late 2005, Santa Clara University continued its efforts in the areas of water conservation and made a commitment to substitute their existing urinals with Waterfree Urinals.

  • A high use Waterfree Urinal typically saves 40,000 gallons of fresh water per year
  • Water does not need to be pumped to the urinal or away from the treatment facility
  • The energy saved contributes to the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions
  • Reducing the load on water treatment plants reduces the incidence of overflow events

Improving Water Conservation

  • Santa Clara University reduced non-irrigated potable water consumption by 16 percent since 2001. In 2001, the University consumed roughly 71 gallons of non-irrigation potable water per gross square foot of building space. In 2008, the University consumed roughly 60 gallons per gross square foot of building space.
  • 215 Falcon Waterfree Urinals have been installed throughout campus (replacing all flushable urinals). Falcon Waterfree literature estimates that each urinal saves 40,000 gallons of water per year.Toilets in the Learning Commons flush with recycled water.
  • SCU is pilot testing dual-flush toilets in our recreation center’s women’s restroom. A low-flow flush uses 2/3 less water than a “conventional” flush.  
  • Over 85 percent of our 104 acre campus is irrigated with recycled water. In 2008, the University consumed 157 acre feet of reclaimed water through South Bay Water Recycling. 
  • The University strives to reduce watering needs by using drought-tolerant plants where appropriate.

Tips for On-Campus Water Conservation

  • Report broken sprinkler heads, leaking plumbing, and running toilets/faucets to Facilities at (408) 554-4742 or by emailing
  • Reduce the length of your showers
  • Utilize the Waterfree Urinals when possible
  • Turn-off the water while shaving or brushing your teeth

Additional Information

Sustainability at SCU

"Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs." -The Brundtland Commission

Visit the SCU Sustainability website to learn more about environmentally friendly lifestyle changes and the Sustainability Pledge.