Recycled Water sign on University DriveCSU Channel Islands, under the leadership of the Department of Facilities Services (FS), has made great strides towards achieving a more sustainable campus through water conservation. We now water all irrigated areas on our campus with recycled water and continue to decrease the amount of water used in these irrigated areas by converting turf to native, drought-tolerant plants. By taking this step, we are moving toward the California-mandated 15% reduction from 2013 of potable (drinking) water. We obtain our water through the Camrosa Water District (adjacent to our campus) which operates a state-of-the-art water treatment and reclamation facility.

 Figure 1: Potable water usage at CI, including University Glen and campus proper, from 2013 to 2018 compared against our 2013 water usage baseline.

Figure 2: Recycled water used for irrigation at CI, including University Glen and campus proper, from 2013 to 2018 compared against our 2013 water usage baseline.

 Figure 3: Combined potable and recycled water to depict total campus water usage at CI from fiscal years 2012-2013 through 2017-2018. 

Water Conservation Tips:

  • Don’t put water down the drain when there may be another use for it, like watering plants, flushing your toilet, or cleaning
  • Store drinking water in the refrigerator rather than letting the tap run every time you want a cool glass of water
  • Do not use running water for things that could be done with something else like to thaw meat or other frozen foods
  • Only wash vehicles when it becomes a safety hazard
  • Take advantage of native and drought tolerant plants in landscaping and replace irrigated turf with mulch, rocks or sand
  • If you have a lawn or garden that requires irrigation, program sprinklers to come on at night when evaporation is at its lowest.
  • Fix any leaks in water infrastructure immediately or notify the proper authorities if the leak is not on your property (never assume someone else is already taking care of it!)
  • Consider that food waste is also water waste - approximately 80% of California’s water goes to agriculture, so buy what you'll eat and compost any waste 

Water Conservation Efforts at CSU Channel Islands



Urinals, toilets, and sink aerators have been upgraded/added in order to minimize water use in campus restrooms. Nearly 100% of all urinals on campus are now waterless. Toilets have been upgraded from 3.5 gallons per flush (gpf) to 1.6 gpf or 1.28 gpf, depending on the building they're installed in, and aerators have been installed on sinks across campus. By taking these steps, we are reducing the toilets' and sinks’ flow rates by approximately 50%, thus saving a great deal of water.


     Figure 4: These stickers were placed on
     bathroom mirrors  above faucets in various                 buildings on campus
     to bring awareness and take action against the           drought.


Turf Conversion

We replaced the turf in multiple areas on campus to make them “California-Friendly Landscapes.” As a bonus for saving water with less water-intensive landscaping, we received an incentive from the Metropolitan Water District, our regional provider, which helped to fund these projects. The new plants are drought-resistant, native to coastal southern California, and surrounded by mulch to keep moisture in. 

Figure 5: Turf conversion in North Quad

Recycled Water

Along with removing parts of grassy areas and replacing them with drought-tolerant plants, CI is saving precious potable water by irrigating over 99% of the campus with recycled water. The water that is used for irrigation is the product of wastewater that has gone through three stages of treatment. This process supports sustainability by saving potable water that would have otherwise been used to irrigate. 

Our recycled water is processed and treated through the Camrosa Water District.


Figure 6: Recycled water signs
 found in irrigated areas.

Potable water costs significantly more than recycled water does. From January 2010 to December 2015, we saved just over $1 million by simply using recycled water instead of potable water in our irrigation and other appropriate areas.