UCLA’s extensive water-saving program garnered the Water Efficiency Project of the Year award on Tuesday, presented by the environmentally focused organization the Los Angeles Better Buildings Challenge at its third annual Innovation Awards ceremony.

UCLA’s water reclamation program saves 28 million gallons every year by capturing storm water, water used in laboratories, and reclaimed water from air conditioners and from sterilization and other equipment in 22 buildings across campus. This reclaimed water is then used to cool the campus cogeneration plant that provides efficient power to the university. The annual total amount of reclaimed water is expected to increase to 48 million gallons annually over the next few years as UCLA Facilities Management expands the program to include more campus buildings and incorporate additional water-saving efforts.

UCLA is a living laboratory for demonstrating sustainability, and the water-saving effort is part of UCLA's plan to cut potable water use by 36 percent per capita by 2025. The project also supports UCLA’s Sustainable LA Grand Challenge, a university-wide research initiative to transition the Los Angeles region to 100 percent renewable energy, 100 percent local water, and an enhanced ecosystem and human health by 2050.