To avoid waste and to ensure that everyone in our community has access to clean, potable water, Mills is dedicated to making water conservation a campus-wide priority, especially during times of drought.
When confronted with drought conditions in the state of California, Mills redoubled existing efforts and adopted further policies to restrict water usage on campus. These initiatives helped the College exceed its goals to reduce water use by over 20 percent (compared to 2013 levels), as mandated by the governor of California and our domestic water supplier. For the continued health of our community and local resources, these efforts are ongoing.
In 2009, Mills switched from irrigating its landscape with potable (drinking) water to sourcing more than 90 percent of irrigation water from the campus lake, Lake Aliso. This helps to close our local water loop, with water used for irrigation cycling back into the campus creek system and lake. Water from Lake Aliso is not potable and did not require the energy and other natural resources used to make water potable. Additionally, all new plantings at Mills are to be native and drought tolerant.
Since March of 2014, Mills has kept off all fountains using potable water. Mills has also implemented measures to reduce on campus vehicle washing and power washing.
The majority of toilets on campus are low flow (1.6 gallons per flush or less), and the Betty Irene Moore Natural Science Building and Lorry I. Lokey School of Business and Public Policy have rainwater catchment systems that circulate collected water through their toilets. All residences have low-flow shower heads (2 gallons per minute), and hourglass shower timers are in the athletics facilities showers.
In 2009, Mills stopped offering trays in all of its dining venues in order to decrease the dish washing required to run the on-campus food services. Food service equipment, such as steam cookers, have been upgraded to significantly more water-efficient (and energy-efficient) models.