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On April 5, the Board of Water Supply urged Oʻahu residents, businesses and government agencies to reduce water usage by 10% because of the Red Hill water crisis and the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa answered the call.

“We want to do our part in knowing the urgency of water conservation, especially with what is happening at Red Hill,” said Blake Araki, director of campus operations and facilities. “Our team has stepped up to the challenge and has done an incredible job of maintaining our beautiful campus while conserving water.”

UH Mānoa voluntarily reduced on campus water consumption by 10% and stopped watering large lawn areas, reduced irrigation, put new plantings on hold, postponed fire protection system testing that discharged water and instructed maintenance staff to address leaking fixtures with urgency.

The UH Building and Grounds Management has continued to reduce water usage while maintaining plant and tree health by watering landscaping when necessary and spreading mulch around campus.

The Mānoa campus continues to reduce watering large lawn areas by 50–75%, as needed depending on the condition of the area, and is reducing the frequency of irrigation for shrubbery by 20%.

UH Facilities Operations implemented a water conservation program to reduce domestic water usage for chilled water plant chemical treatment systems by approximately 25%. Domestic water usage for a chilled water plant can contribute up to 15% of the total building water usage.

Long-term planning

Reducing water usage on campus has been a collaboration across multiple units including: landscaping, campus operations and facilities.

Some long-term plans are to continue replacing plumbing fixtures with low flow fixtures; reducing make-up water demand on central air conditioning systems by consulting with appropriate chemical treatment vendors on various treatment programs; and reducing operating hours of the larger chilled water plants in buildings around campus.

Reporting leaks

Reports on water fixture leaks in buildings around campus have increased by more than 20%, with people being more proactive in filling out a report when they see a leak.

The UH community can report any leaking fixtures on campus by submitting a work request to the work coordination center at

Read more UH Mānoa sustainability stories.

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