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California Drought Response Action Plan

Overview | DroughtReach Projects | Water Conservation Menu | Drought Updates | Resources

On January 17, 2014 California Governor Jerry Brown proclaimed a California Drought Emergency and asked all Californians to voluntarily reduce their water use by 20%

About two-thirds of California is in "extreme" or "exceptional" drought, the two most severe categories, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. The drought is the most severe in California since at least 1977.

Many water suppliers are calling on customers to step up conservation efforts, while some already have implemented mandatory restrictions on water use. Local water agencies and communities across California are beginning to take action in the face of record-dry conditions in early 2014.

Our research team at the UC Center for Hydrologic Modeling in collaboration with the UCI Facilities Management is determined to decrease the water use by 20% on the UCI campus and beyond, to raise awareness about the water crisis we are facing, and to recommend alternatives everyone of us can incorporate in our every-day lives to conserve water.

Over the next weeks we will launch various outreach campaigns with the goal of reaching students, faculty, and staff on the UCI campus and local communites to illustrate how pervasive the effects of drought can be. 

Small changes can have a big impact on reducing your water footprint. Every drop counts. Get informed and get involved!

UCI Student "DroughtReach" Campaign


The students of Regional Environmental Issues (ESS60B) are taking control when it comes to spreading drought awareness within the UC Irvine community. "Pledge with Pete" will kickoff the campaign, as Peter the Anteater will join students at their booth on ring road to take pledges and challenge the UC Irvine community to conserve water (February 25th and 27th). Students will reach out to UCI’s management and requesting that all water fixtures on campus be turned off until the end of the drought emergency. The students will also volunteer at the Children’s Water Education Festival on March 26th and 27th. Look out for drought-related social media updates on their Facebook page and Instagram (@ESS60B) and follow these hashtags on Twitter to stay informed: #DroughtReach, #DroughtResponseFail, #DroughtHero, #ESS60B.        

Pledge with Pete - Drought Booth

Pledge with Pete was a huge success! Dozens of students, faculty and staffmembers across UC Irvine gathered to make pledges to reduce their water usage by 20%. Find more photos of the event here.

Photo Credit of Jennifer Wilkens

UC Irvine Facilities Drought Response

UC Irvine Facilities is a major part of the drought response team. In conjunction with the already game-changing sustainability and efficiency efforts by UCI Facilities Management, several projects will be introduced to reduce the campus water footprint even further. In the short-term, steps will be taken to turn off irrigation in areas that don't use recycled water and to bucket water the trees to reduce water losses associated with automatic irrigation. Long-term projects include increased use of recycled water, expanded use of water metering and replacing turf grass in designated "secondary" areas (i.e. decorative areas) with a less water-intensive alternative (e.g. desert landscaping). Another potential project, converting first-floor bathroom plumbing to recycled water, will warrant further assessment.


March 4, 2014 - Facilities Management has set up an email account that you can send text messages to in order to report water leaks, facility related issues and other #DroughtResponseFails. If you see something on campus that needs fixing, send a quick text to

UCCHM DroughtReach

This Is Your State, This Is Your State on Drought

The aim of this visual media campaign is to show the devastating and wide-reaching effects of drought. Fashioned after the classic "This Is Your Brain on Drugs" Partnerships for a Drug Free America public service announcements from the 1980s, the "This is Your State on Drought" campaign will use powerful and contrasting images of California in its normative state and/or ravaged by drought to show the real-life, state-wide impacts of drought. 

Folsom Lake Under Drought Conditions

Different View: Folsom Lake Water Line
Sierra Snowpack Under Drought Conditions
Social Media Campaigns
Drought Response Fail
In this drought emergency, it's especially important to conserve every last drop of water. There's no room for waste. We're calling on the UCI and local Orange County community to be water watchdogs.  If you spot a wasteful situation, like a broken sprinkler spraying excess water onto the sidewalk, be sure to call it out on social media. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram and tag us, @TheUCCHM. Be sure to use the hashtags #DroughtResponseFail and #WaterWatchDogs when you spot something in need of fixing. Together, let's make a more water-efficient community. 
Photo Credit of Cédric David, UCCHM
If you are on the UCI campus and you spot a wasteful situation like a dripping faucet or a toilet that doesn't stop flushing make sure to report a facilities problem or concern by contacting the Facilities Service Desk at 949-824-5444 between the hours of 7 am and 4:30 pm or Central Plant directly at 949-824-5520 after hours.
Governor Brown has asked all Californians to decrease their personal water use by 20%. With two-thirds of the state in categorically "extreme" or "exceptional" drought, 20% cuts to individual water usage will go a long way. The Pledge with Pete event challenged UC Irvine students, faculty and staff to think creatively about how to go about reducing their water footprints. Below is a photo of the Pledge Tree, made up of the water conservation pledges taken during the Pledge with Pete event. We encourage you to ask yourself: how will I conserve my 20%?