Drought & Water Conservation

How to conserve water on campus

December 22nd, 2016 - Cornell University Water Supply Levels Return to Normal Status: Groundwater levels and flow in Fall Creek have returned to normal, therefore all restrictions related to drought have been lifted for the Cornell Water System. Thank you for conservation efforts taken during the drought of 2016.  We ask that you please continue to be conscious of water use as we move into the new year.  

If everyone at Cornell University reduced their water use by just one gallon a day, we could save more than 1.5 million gallons a month. Every drop counts! The following are additional important ways you can reduce and conserve water both on campus and at home:

  • How Much Water Does Your Building Use?
    Check out the new water metering tool!

  • See Current Water Restrictions on Campus
    As of 12/22/16, Water restrictions for the drought have been lifted

  • How to Conserve Water on Campus and a Home 
    Cornellians reduced water use 20% in 2016 through conservation!

During the Fall 2016 drought, Cornell community has shown enthusiastic participation in water conservation practices, which have resulted in a consistent 20 percent campus-wide reduction in demand over the past 4 months. Going forward please continue to be conscious of water use and engage in sustainable water use by doing the following:

·         Have conversations about ways to reduce water demand and waste in your facilities.

·         Report of all leaks or suspected water loss such as a running toilet, leaking faucet, or other issues to Infrastructure, Properties and Planning.  For issues in your building contact your Building Manager . For issues on campus report issues here or call IPP Customer Service using the contact information below.

·         Monitor water usage data for your facility online here.

·         Submit water conservation ideas, and encourage others to submit theirs here.

·         Track your progress by checking building water usage

·         Have conversations about ways to reduce water demand and waste in your facilities.

·         Report of all leaks or suspected water loss immediately to Infrastructure, Properties and Planning.

·         Monitor water usage data for your facility online here.

·         Submit water conservation ideas, and encourage others to submit theirs here.

·         Remain aware of the latest drought-related information on campus at the Sustainable Campus web page.

·         Track your progress by checking building water usage


How Can I Help Conserve Water?

·         Shorten shower time to 3-5 minutes. Save up to 25 gallons per day, per person.

·         Use low-flow toilets (usually indicated by a dual-flush handle and signage), prioritize their use.  Save up to 19 gallons per person per day.

·         Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth, shaving and soaping your hands. Save up to three gallons a day.

·         Wash only full loads of dishes or laundry, and only use cold water. Save up to 15-50 gallons per load.

·        Collect the water you use while rinsing fruits and vegetables. Use it to water plants.

Additionally, stricter water usage can help conserve water during periods such as drought.  Encouraged activities include limiting the following actions:

  • Watering lawns, landscapes, and vegetation except with non-potable water (e.g., gray or reclaimed water). 
  • Use of any decorative or other outdoor water arrangements.
  • 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.
  • In addition, Facilities is taking steps to restrict and reduce other operational water uses.

Drought Response at Cornell University

Cornell University maintains a staged approach to responding to drought conditions in Tompkins County.  The U.S. Geological Survey’s Drought Monitor lists a current state for county wide drought level which can be reviewed here.  The University experienced a drought during Fall 2016 which caused Stage 1 and Stage 2 water restrictions.  As of December 2016, water usage restrictions have been lifted for the campus.

Stage 1:Water Use Advisory: Water limitations strongly encouraged, some operational cut-backs identified
Stage 2:Water Use Restriction: Water limitations required across campus, further operational cut-backs implemented
Stage 3:Severe Water Restriction: Significant water limitations required, advanced operational cut-backs implemented

  • 2016 Drought Summary
  • 12/22/16 All Water Restrictions Lifted
  • 11/3/16 University Reduces Drought Response to Stage 1
  • 7/28/16 University Implements Drought Response, Stage 2

Contact and Report Water Leakage Issues

Report water concerns on campus here
For immediate assistance, call IPP Customer Service: 607-255-5322
Report fire concerns or questions call Environmental Health and Safety office at 607-255-8200 or visit visit their website