In 2011, a water conservation program was developed through a partnership between the Irvine Ranch Water District (IRWD), the University of California at Irvine (UCI), and Niagara Conservation Corporation. The plan was to install high-efficiency fixtures for Verano Place Apartments at the University of California Irvine, and the IRWD would then document the water savings. It was hoped that the impact would not only result in conservation efficiencies at the university but would also validate technologies and methods that could be rolled out and successfully implemented within the IRWD.

The project, which was completed in March 2012, was developed to help UCI meet its goal of reducing water consumption by 15% below its 2007 baseline by 2014. One year after installation, the property saves nearly 16 million gallons. The project exceeded expectations and was so successful that by 2014 the apartment complex alone attributes to an average of over 23 million of gallons saved annually for the university since 2007. Reducing water usage by an average of nearly 40% since 2007 at their Verano Place Apartments allowed them to get closer to reaching their ultimate goal.

Due to this success, the IRWD, which spans 181 miles in densely populated Orange County, CA, expanded the initiative to a districtwide Multi-Family Direct Install program. Implementation of this program could help them meet their targets of reducing the per capita water use 20% by 2020, reduce reliance on imported water and realize long-term cost-effective conservation programs.

“Irvine Ranch Water District is committed to saving water and energy while helping our customers reduce their utility bills through sustainable practices,” said Amy McNulty, Water Efficiency Manager for Irvine Ranch Water District. “Partnering with UCI and Niagara Conservation Verano Place Apartments with ultra-high-efficient devices has been a great way to dramatically reduce water consumption in an area where efficient water use remains extremely important.”


Verano Place Apartments removed older model plumbing fixtures and installed highly efficient fixtures from Niagara Conservation in 300 units. The fixtures installed were Niagara Conservation’s EPA WaterSense® certified Ultra-High-Efficiency-Technology® Stealth 0.8 GPF toilets, 0.5 GPM kitchen and bathroom aerators and 1.5 GPM Earth® showerheads.

With every flush, the Stealth 0.8 GPF toilet forces air down a transfer tube and into the trapway which allows for a quiet yet powerful suction that ensures all waste in the toilet bowl is cleared out and flows fully into the sewer system. Then the high-efficiency, high powered Earth™ Massage 1.5 GPM showerhead uses up to 40 percent less water than other “low-flow” showerheads, and since faucets can account for nearly 16 percent of an average household’s daily water consumption, the 0.5 GPM kitchen and bath aerators completed the water saving package.

“We offer the most water-efficient toilets on the market without any reduction in the quality of design or the flushing power behind them,” said Carl Wehmeyer, Niagara Conservation’s executive vice president. “By teaming up with Irvine Ranch Water District and University of California Irvine, we remain committed to making strides toward sustainable water solutions as well as minimize waste of a scare, valuable resource not only in California but also nationwide.”