scudder fountain

Lowering the water level at the Fountain of Freedom on Scudder Plaza has significantly reduced spillover and water use.

Fresh water scarcity is a key issue in many parts of the world. New Jersey also has water-related issues of concern and Princeton can be an integral part of revitalizing local water systems for current and future benefit. Campus heating, cooling, and landscape management account for the majority of Princeton’s water consumption. In addition to implementing conservation measures in these high-use areas, the University has taken significant steps to reduce water usage on campus by installing low-flow plumbing and athletic irrigation fixtures, high-efficiency washing machines and dishwashers, and tray-free dining in all dining halls. 


Reduce overall campus water usage by 25 percent between 2006 and 2020.


  • bedford field

    Measures to reduce irrigation on athletic fields continue. Advancements include new turf installed in 2012 on Bedford Field with a backing designed to hold water, resulting in a water usage reduction from approximately 12,000 gallons to 2,000 gallons per watering (an 83 percent decrease).

  • STARS Silver Award

    The AASHE Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) allows metric-driven progress assessment across operations and academics for North American higher education and has recognized Princeton at the Silver leadership level

  • HPCRC High Performing Computing Center exterior building image

    Princeton’s innovative “PowerPure” treatment system in Baker Rink and the High-Performance Computing Research Center saves hundreds of thousands of gallons of fresh water per year.

  • dishwasher

    Overall annual campus water usage has declined by 15 percent since 2006. The University has achieved this reduction by installing low-flow fixtures, more efficient dishwashers, clothes washers, athletic irrigation systems, and more. 

  • More than 250 filtered Drink Local bottle filling stations have been installed since 2010, celebrating access to healthy (and free) local water.

  • dining hall plates and silverware

    As part of its waste and energy reduction efforts, Dining Services upgraded dishwashers and completed conversion to “tray-free” dining in all of its residential dining halls in 2011, reducing annual campus CO2 emissions by an estimated 23 metric tons. 

Campus Water Usage Yearly Total

water graph
water graph

What’s Next

  • Continue to evaluate the major water-using activities on campus and devise strategies for reduction.

  • Encourage behavior-changing water conservation initiatives through student organizations.

  • Track irrigation water usage on athletics fields.

  • Align water conservation and management goals to address regional water concerns.

Related Video

play video
The Student Environmental Communication Network presents, "The Low Flow Thriller: Reducing Water Waste on the Princeton Campus."