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Sustainability at Mills

Water Conservation

What We're Doing
On April 1, 2015, the governor issued Executive Order B-29-15. Key provisions include ordering the State Water Resources Control Board to impose restrictions to achieve a 25 percent reduction in potable urban water usage through February 28, 2016 as compared to 2013 levels. Shortly thereafter, EBMUD (our domestic water supplier), declared a Stage 4 critical drought and set a community-wide goal to reduce water use by 20 percent as compared to 2013 levels. Mills is on track to exceed these goals, with the help of a Drought Mitigation Committee consisting of students, faculty, and staff. Several of the key activities completed and in progress are listed below.

Reclaimed and Reduced Water Use in Landscaping
In 2009 Mills switched from irrigating its landscape with potable (drinking) water to sourcing more than 90% 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 non-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.

Reduced Outdoor Water Use
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.

Reclaimed and Reduced Water Use in Bathrooms
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 which 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.

Reduced Water Use in Dining
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.

What You Can Do

  • Wash clothes in full loads, instead of only a few items at a time.
  • Use dishwasher only when full or reuse water from hand-washing dishes.
  • Limit your shower time.
  • Turn off the water whenever possible, such as when brushing your teeth or shaving.
  • Learn more at the online EBMUD WaterSmart Center: https://www.ebmud.com/water-and-drought/conservation-and-rebates/



Get Involved



Farm and Food

Sustainability Forums


Waste Reduction

Water Conservation

Contact Information 

Joanne Wong
Sustainability Coordinator


Julia Dashe
Farm Manager


Green for Green Fund:

Sustainability Committee:

Re-Use Depot

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Last Updated: 7/19/17