As water shortages and droughts become more common, it is important that the university does its part in conserving water. Using water efficiently guarantees that there will be enough water for drinking, sanitation, hygiene, and irrigation. Between 2013 to 2022, the University of Delaware’s total annual water consumption increased by approximately 1.3%. Unfortunately, the university’s water conservation efforts are weak although has strong stormwater management to protect ecosystems and public spaces from overflooding and polluted runoff. In 2020, UD earned only 0.82 out of 4 credits in the ‘Water Use’ subcategory in AASHE STARS. To earn full credit, UD must show at least a 30% reduction in potable water use 1) per weighted campus user, 2) per square foot/meter of floor area, and 3) per acre/hectare of vegetated ground in the span of 1 or 2 years. UD had a 0% reduction of water use for criteria 1 and 3 while only reducing water use for criteria 2 by 18%.

Current Actions:

  • UD currently offers reusable to-go containers saving water
  • Sip Smarter dining locations where students can opt-out of using a straw
  • Approximately 50 hydration stations where water bottles can be refilled.
  • UD has low-flow water fixtures across campus.
  • Most of our campus drains into a groundwater refresh zone and discharges to surface water with a downstream drinking water purveyor.
  • UD has incorporated bio-swales, rain gardens, and multiple green roofs into our campus and building designs.
  • The university utilizes permeable artificial turf fields that use underground Stormtech chambers to manage stormwater. 


  • By 2026, reduce potable water use by 30% in all three AASHE measurement criteria.
  • Encourage rainwater reuse for landscaping.
  • Increase signage to advertise stormwater successes.
  • Create a water conservation plan by 2025.

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