Cornell University Water Restrictions, July 2016

Actions you can take and how to report issues...


Cornell University Water Restriction

Issued July 28th, 2016

As a result of the severe drought in Tompkins County and continued low water supply in Fall Creek, the source of water for Cornell’s Ithaca campus and for nearby communities, Cornell University has issued a Water Use Restriction. If current trends continue, there will be insufficient potable (clean, treated) water to supply the demands of campus this August. In order for the University to maintain its mission-critical operations, we must work together as a community to decrease overall water use on campus by at least 30% as soon as possible.

Effective immediately, all Ithaca campus faculty, staff, and students are required to cease the following actions on campus:
  • Watering lawns, landscapes, and vegetation except with non-potable water (e.g., gray or reclaimed water). 
  • Power washing, cleaning, or otherwise using potable water to clean driveways, sidewalks, building surfaces, and asphalt.
  • Washing vehicles with potable water unless required for safety or compliance.
  • Recreational water use such as sprinklers, games, or camp activities involving use of potable water.

Additionally, the University asks all campus community members to assist in implementing the following conservation measures immediately in all campus facilities:
  • Report any water leaks, running toilets, dripping faucets, or other water issues to your building coordinator immediately. These issues will be prioritized by Facilities Management for repair.
  • All facility managers are asked to check fixtures, toilets, and piping for leaks; to submit repair requests immediately; and to continue regular assessment of water fixtures.
  • Limit personal shower use to three to five minutes, using colder water when possible.
  • Turn off faucets while brushing teeth, washing hands, or cleaning dishes.
  • Discontinue drawing water from area creeks or other accessible water sources.
  • Implement systems to reuse water wherever possible.

The University has formed a Drought Emergency Planning Team (DEPT). The team is engaging key campus stakeholders to identify additional strategies for water reduction across campus. Water use data will be collected daily and made available to the campus. For more information on the drought response at Cornell University and what you can do, please visit

Report any water leakages such as a running toilet, leaking faucet, or other issues with water waste you see on campus.

The anticipated duration of these restrictions is a minimum of 4-6 weeks. The restrictions are effective until further notice, with the potential for extension or escalation to a higher state of drought response — a Water Use Ban — if restrictions are not effective or drought conditions remain.

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