Reduce our water footprint while supporting a vibrant, diverse, abundant campus ecosystem and creating a culture of water awareness and action.


In 2017, Pomona College published SAVE, an ambitious guide for creating and managing a sustainable campus community. The plan outlines measurable strategies that lead the College to achieve ambitious sustainability goals and reach carbon neutrality by 2030. Selected water-related goals are described below, and the full report can be found here.

  • 40% reduction in normalized water use*
  • Real-time water usage data and analytics are available to the campus community and world
  • 50% of landscaping features drought-tolerant native plantings
  • 100% of major buildings or systems are metered for real-time water use
  • 50% of outdoor space is permeable

*Goals are based on a 2014 baseline

Water Use

Grounds has replaced tens of thousands of square-feet of turf with mulch, utilizing underused spaces such as boulevards.

The College has been systematically retrofitting and replacing conventional toilets with dual-flush fixtures, such as this one in Norton-Clark III residence hall.

Aerators have been added to faucets throughout campus to ensure efficiency. Low-flow showerheads have been installed in all residential halls. Dual-flush toilets have been installed in virtually all bathrooms on campus. Most washing machines on campus (including Housekeeping's) are water-efficient front-loading machine.

Currently, 44% of Pomona's buildings are metered for real-time water usage. Since 2017, Pomona has been working on pushing the data from these meters to our cloud platform where they will be easily accessible to community at large. This project is due to be completed by 2020.

WaterWise Week

Pomona College's investment in dorm water meters has enabled students to participate in Campus Conservation National WaterWise competition. In 2014, Pomona College ranked in the top five nationally for conserving over 65,000 gallons of water over a two-week period. 


  • Turf Removal – Since the Summer of 2015, Grounds Staff have removed approximately 300,000 SF of turf throughout the Pomona College campus.  Resulting in significant reductions in landscape irrigation.
  • Storm Water Management and Redirection - Studio Art Hall installed a sustainable storm water management system that includes pre-treatment hydrodynamic separators, a dry well and gravel infiltration trench. Bio-swales are placed throughout the campus to capture the water. Storm water redirection avoids the sewer system and is instead reincorporated into the natural aquifer. Water run-off has been reduced by changing to impermeable surfaces. 
  • Appropriate Landscaping and Planting - Grounds strategically designs landscaping on campus to place plants that need more water in naturally wetter areas of campus and plants that need less water in drier areas. The landscaping is a beautiful collection comprised mainly of drought-resistant plants, reduced water-using grass blends for turf, and mesa oak trees.
  • Enhanced Landscape Irrigation System - Controls monitor the irrigation systems based on predictions of humidity and precipitation to further enhance reductions to landscape irrigation. Increased efficiency rate of 80% over the use of spray and other sprinkler types.  Grounds staff replaced 5,148 SF of spray irrigation with drip irrigation. The College has significantly reduced the watering schedule for campus landscaping, down to a base for two times per week during the evening.