Worker adjusts drip irrigation for drought-tolerant plants at DGS state-leased facility in Van Nuys, Calif.
Worker adjusts drip irrigation for drought-tolerant plants at DGS state-leased facility in Van Nuys, Calif.

As one of the many steps the state of California has taken during the unprecedented drought, the Department of General Services (DGS) has been actively working with private sector building owners to cut water and energy use in state-leased facilities.

DGS manages approximately 1,800 leases statewide and encourages lessors to take every possible step to conserve water. These water-saving measures range from replacing turf with drought-tolerant plants to installing water-smart irrigation and plumbing fixtures with the goal of permanently conserving water at buildings serving state agency tenants.

In addition to significantly reducing water use, landlords are also realizing lower operating costs through lower utility bills.

The following DGS video – “DGS Leased Properties: Real Estate, Real Savings” – highlights actions taken by some of California’s commercial real estate managers who have state tenants as part of their real estate portfolios.

The video can be viewed at:


In January 2014, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. declared a drought state of emergency, tasking DGS with immediately implementing water use reduction plans for all state facilities.

DGS responded by taking the following measures at state facilities:

  • Cutting the amount of water used in landscaping at DGS properties by 20 percent.
  • Shutting off water fountains and water features on state property, including the State Capitol grounds.
  • Instituting a moratorium on nonessential landscaping projects at state facilities.
  • Cancelling contracts for water-intensive window washing at state facilities.
  • Eliminating all car washes in the State Garage other than those required for safety.
  • Issuing guidance through the Division of the State Architect to nearly 1,200 school administrators on best practices for conserving water at K-12 schools and community college campuses.
  • Placing signage in restrooms and other areas of state buildings to remind tenants and visitors of the urgent need to save water.

California has been dealing with the effects of an unprecedented drought. To learn about all the actions the state has taken to manage our water system and cope with the impacts of the drought, visit Drought.CA.Gov. Every Californian should take steps to conserve water. Find out how at

Written by California Department of General Services

The Department of General Services (DGS) serves as business manager for the state of California. General Services helps to better serve the public by providing a variety of services to state agencies through procurement and acquisition solutions, real estate management and design, environmentally friendly transportation, professional printing, design and web services, and funding for the creation and construction of safe schools. The DGS vision: Excellence in the Business of Government!

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