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Mills addresses recent drought restrictions through changes on campus

In response to California Governor Jerry Brown’s recent water restrictions, Mills College is beginning a campaign to reduce water usage across campus and evaluate further potential reductions. 

Earlier this April, Brown imposed mandatory water restrictions on residents, businesses and farms.  Cities and towns in California are required to reduce their water usage by 25 percent. According to The Los Angeles Times, at a meeting concerning the drought, Brown and the state legislature asked what colleges were doing to conserve water. 

The current reductions at Mills involve turning off all domestic water fountains, reducing the sprinkler and other forms of irrigation by half, having shower flow restrictors inside the residence halls, planting drought tolerant plants and aiming to have all new toilets be low flow, according to Associate Vice President of Operations Linda Zitzner. The goal of the College’s new campaign is to report drips, leaks and spills on campus as soon as possible via work order. 

Campus architect Karen Fiene is thrilled about the changes being made to the landscape, such as replacing the traditional lawns and water-intensive shrubs with native plants.

“We will continue to look for creative ways to address water shortages in ways that respect our beautiful campus,” Fiene said. “This is a learning moment for all of us.”

Many people, such as Assistant Professor of public policy Mark Henderson, think Governor Brown’s drought restrictions are necessary and long overdue; however, Henderson said Californians have been better about their water usage in the last four decades despite the possibility of more drought years in California’s future due to climate change.

Junior environmental science major Shannon Kreutzer thinks that the restrictions are not enough because they do not apply to corporations and agriculture, which uses up to 80 percent of California’s water supply. Kreutzer thinks that California will get to the necessary restrictions once there are absolute water restrictions on all levels. 

Junior environmental science major Fadwa Bouhedda believes that Governor Brown should go after larger corporations such as Nestlé instead of just targeting municipal water usage.

“To stop watering lawns and taking shorter showers are both good, but we should not focus just on civilians, we should focus on the corporations who are emptying the groundwater,” Bouhedda said.



How to Fill Out a Work Order Form

  1. Go to or click here. You may be asked to provide your Mills College login information.
  2. Fill in your contact information, the location of the leak, drip or spill and a brief description of the issue.
  3. Hit “Submit”.