Gov. Jerry Brown’s declaration of a State of Emergency for the drought in California did more than turn heads, it encouraged action. California State University, Stanislaus is implementing long term and short term efforts to ensure that only essential water is being used, as well as conserved for future use.
All residents in California have been asked to reduce their water consumption by 20 percent and CSUS falls under the state agencies that are required to implement water use reduction plans for their facilities. Therefore, a moratorium will be placed on new and non-essential landscape and facility projects and immediate water conservation actions. All university students were notified of the changes to campus water usage administered by Facilities Services via email.
Among its current efforts, the university irrigation system utilizes reclaimed water, installs drought tolerant vegetation, fits buildings with low flow faucets, toilets and urinals and reduces the frequency of washing state vehicles by 20 percent. As for short term efforts, the university is replacing 64 shower heads that will administer 40 percent less water in the locker rooms and save 50 percent in the student housing. Water flow at faucets around campus will be reduced including in restrooms, the cafeteria, science and art labs as well as the drama scene shop, resulting in a 55 to 60 percent reduction.
“Once the fixtures have been changed out, they will remain in place for the life of the fixture. Reduced irrigation practices will remain in place until next winter, at which time they will be reviewed with actual and anticipated rainfall,” said Melody Maffei, associate vice president for capital planning and facilities management.
Long term efforts include installing water meters in buildings and landscaped areas, utilizing condensation water from HVAC systems for irrigation, and opening the lines of communication for the campus community to be able to report broken sprinklers and leaky faucets via the CSUS cell phone application.
The CSU system is also trying to increase awareness of water conservation by requesting that schools incorporate state water conservation logos and slogans in messaging to the campus community, regularly publish consumption usage and publicize negative drought impacts to the community.
“Everyone on campus has a role in helping to conserve water,” said Maffei.