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CSULB plans to reduce water waste

Cal State Long Beach and the Water Efficiency and Conservation Working Group’s come together to conserve water.

Sabrina Flores | Daily 49er

Sabrina Flores | Daily 49er

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The state may be out of a drought, but Cal State Long Beach is still making an effort to conserve water by implementing a Water Action Plan to help achieve the California State University statewide goal of having a 20 percent reduction in urban water use by the year 2020.

CSULB’s campus relies on water heavily, spending more than $800,000 yearly with the major water consumption coming from landscape irrigation, heating and air conditioning, domestic water use, dining services and campus swimming pools.

According to the Water Action Plan final draft, CSULB has already hit the goal of dropping water usage 10 percent from 2014-2016 by transitioning to drought tolerant landscaping, converting landscape areas to drip irrigation, using waterless and low flow urinals, installing touch free automatic faucets with low flow restrictors, installing weather based central irrigation controllers and using reclaimed water for irrigation.

The on-campus Water Efficiency and Conservation Working Group has currently helped with conservation efforts by proposing a plan for the Student Recreation & Wellness Center as well. In WECs Working Group Water Efficiency Proposal for the SRWC for ASI, their plan is to cut water usage by replacing shower heads with lower flow units and to install automated pool covers for the outdoor spa and pool. After concluding a survey in the SRWC for shower heads, students helped pick a low flow one that will be replacing the current ones soon.

“Shower heads [that] use two and a half gallons per minute are not huge, but if you can get it to one and a half or one and still have a nice shower, that’s a lot of savings,” said Dr. Suzanne Dallman, associate professor and co-chair of The WEC Working Group. “Similarly with the pool cover an uncovered pool with warm water evaporates so you have to refill it.”

By installing these plans CSULB will also save energy. The estimate of the water and energy saved from the SRWC project is over $20,000 annually.

“People forget that water and energy are connected, it takes energy to get water there. It takes water to generate energy. So, if you reduce one you reduce the other. We want to conserve both,” Dallman said.

A water usage study from 2015 by P2S Engineering reported campus water use at 220 million gallons per year in 2014.

In a recent 2017 review of water use, the Long Beach Water Department reported that CSULB uses approximately 200 million gallons of water each year, which is enough to fill the Walter Pyramid four times. The WEC Working Group already has water conservation projects in progress and is focusing on CSULB’s Water Action Plan. The main goals are to reduce our reliance on potable water, and reduce overall campus water use.

Once the Water Action Plan is finalized, One of the WEC Working Group goals will be to do some outreach on campus. According to Dallman that will include students help in being more aware of water usage on campus, and those who house can take shorter showers and not leave the water running.

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