Facilities Management Water Savings Measures

The Facilities Management Department would like to welcome the Campus Community to the Fall 2014 Semester.  As you are aware, the California drought has affected all of us in many ways.  Our Campus is no exception. 

Therefore, as you walk the Campus you may note that some of the buildings are not free of cobwebs, windows are not clean, and that other hard surfaces are a bit dusty and dirty.  We ask that you look past these issues as the University makes efforts to conserve water and comply with the State’s Mandatory Water Conservation Regulations.   Part of the regulations require that we do not apply water to hardscapes unless for health and safety reasons.  If power washing like this is required, we will post appropriate signs at the work area, so the Campus Community will know what is taking place. 

Even though the majority of the University’s irrigation system is not fed from potable water, the only water covered under the regulations, we have taken several steps to ensure that the water we are using is being used prudently. 

The FMS Grounds staff have been instructed to reduce their irrigation schedule to no more than 3X/week, with the goal of 2X/week dependent upon the plant responses we see.  Along with the shorter schedule, we have been reducing the campus wide irrigation run-times by at least 20%. The staff is also actively monitoring for excessive run-off, unnecessary over-spray and broken/vandalized sprinkler heads. Grounds has also been asked to stop all daytime watering except in cases where repairs/adjustments have been made and a short system-check is required.  In addition, Fertilizer applications will be reduced to keep vegetative growth down in an effort to reduce water needed by turf and shrubs.

On a larger scale, an irrigation central-control system is being installed throughout campus to address the largest turf areas first. The system will make automatic adjustments to the irrigation systems under its control to account for daily weather variations. The central system can also shut systems down in the event that a broken/vandalized sprinkler occurs overnight or on a weekend, and will notify the staff immediately so that repairs can be made in a timely manner.

In addition to what is taking place outdoors, we are also taking steps indoors related to water use.  These steps will hopefully help save water, but are primarily geared towards sustainability.  Starting this semester we will begin a pilot program in a few of our buildings where we will be replacing water fountains with models which have filtered water bottle refilling spigots.  This feature will allow the Campus Community to maximize the use of their reusable water containers without adding to the solid waste stream.  These water fountains will also save energy since the cooling condenser system has been eliminated. 

We know there is always more that can be done, and we will continue to evaluate our use of water on Campus.  We hope that you appreciate our efforts and support our upcoming endevours as well.