Recycled Water sign on University DriveCSU Channel Islands, under the leadership of the Department of Facilities Services (FS), has taken large strides to achieve a more sustainable campus through water conservation. We have converted to watering the entire campus with recycled water as well as cutting back the amount of water used in these irrigated areas (and converting turf to native and low water plants). By taking this step, we are moving toward the California mandated 15% reduction from 2013 of potable (drinking) water. In March 2016, we were down 17% to our reduction goal. We obtain our water through Camrosa Water District, which operates a state-of-the-art water treatment and reclamation facility.

Potable Water Usage in 2016

 Figure 1: Potable water used at CI, including University Glen and Campus Proper, in 2016 broken down by month and expressed in gallons.

Recycled Water in 2016

Figure 2: Recycled water used for irrigation at CI, including University Glen and Campus Proper, in 2016 broken down by month and expressed in gallons.

Total water, recycled plus potable, in 2016

 Figure 3: Combined potable and recycled water to depict total campus water usage at CI. 

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

Water Conservation Actions at Channel Islands:


After 2016 Commencement, CI turned off and drained the fountains on campus. This action was completed in response to the drought. Maintenance on the fountains, which means draining and refilling, occurred roughly 4 times a year. Properly cleaning the Central Mall fountain alone was at least 4,000 gallons of potable water each time! Facilities Services placed signs on the fountains in order to bring more awareness of the drought.

Fountain Drought Sign




 Figure 3: Fountain Drought Awareness Sign. Located on fountains around campus. 




Urinals, toilets, and sink aerators have been upgraded or added to minimize water in the restrooms. Over 99% of urinals on campus are already water-free, saving approximately 40,000 gallons of water each year per urinal. Toilets have been upgraded from 3.5 gallons per flush (gpf) to 1.6gpf or 1.28 gpf, depending on the building installed. Aerators have been installed on the sinks across campus. By engaging in this action, we are reducing the sinks’ flow rate by approximately 50%, thus, saving more water.


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




Turf Conversion

We replaced the turf in North and South Quads with a “California Friendly Landscape.” As a bonus for saving water with a less water intensive landscaping, we received an incentive from Metropolitan Water District, our regional provider, which helped pay for the project. The new plants that are drought resistant, native to coastal southern California, and surrounded with mulch to keep moisture in. 

Figure 5: Turf conversion located in North Quad

Recycled Water

Along with removing parts of grassy areas and replacing them with drought tolerant plants, CI is saving potable water by watering over 99% of the campus with irrigated with recycled water. This means that the water used for irrigation is former wastewater that has gone through a multistage treatment. This process supports sustainable landscaping, by reducing the potable water that would otherwise be used to irrigate. 

Our recycled water comes from Camrosa Water District, which operates a state-of-the-art water treatment and reclamation facility.

Figure 6: Recycled water signs
 found in irrigated areas.

Potable water costs significantly more than recycled water. 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!