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Campus renovations contribute to state success

University water stewardship parallels California in improved efficiency. | Infographic by Emily Hayashida/THE CHIMES

 

Conservation efforts seem to be working for California in its nearly four year battle against drought — but despite success, the state and Biola continue steadfast efforts to implement water-conserving tactics.

Combating the Crisis

While recent rain temporarily quells the dry earth, the influence of drought still perpetuates worry in Californians. Throughout 2014 and 2015, California Gov. Jerry Brown released a series of executive orders announcing the need to combat the crisis. With the April 1, 2015 unveiling of a comprehensive reduction plan aiming at cutting statewide water use by 25 percent, progress attaining this goal has been warily tracked on a monthly basis.

Though the university is not mandated to follow the governor’s 25 percent reduction goal, Biola’s facilities management has planned and executed projects to reduce campus water usage in line with that quantitative aim.

“We feel like we want to do our part and help with the state’s water crisis,” said Brian Phillips, director of facilities management. “The state has set that goal and we want to target that ourselves.”

The University's Response

On Aug. 26, 2015 facilities management issued a statement on Biola’s student life webpage, summarizing the university’s response to the governor’s goal and Suburban Water’s Aug. 1, 2015 Stage-2 Water Shortage Contingency Plan.

The statement outlined improvements already made by facilities management including low-flow shower heads and flush valves, conversion of 55,000 square feet of turf to drought resistant groundcover, and a water-efficient upgrade to the Lansing Pool filter.

Phillips also conveyed the university’s continued effort to work together with the state through conversion of an additional 25,000 square feet of turf to drought tolerant landscape and evaluation for smart irrigation controllers. Any new development, including construction of the new science building, will have water-saving sprinkler heads as well.

Good Stewardship

Low-flow sink faucets are also being installed across campus. During the first week of the fall semester, Andy Edmondson, applied linguistics graduate student, was hired as a plumbing assistant to convert roughly 1,000 faucets to a more efficient variety.

“Essentially the faucets restrict the water flow and aerate the water,” Edmondson said. “[The water] comes out in smaller streams rather than one big one.”

Edmonson understands that any good university feels the responsibility to adhere to societal efforts aimed at fighting problems like drought, and the new faucets help demonstrate Biola’s intention toward good stewardship.

“I think Biola is a wise school and they have done their due diligence in determining that even though [these faucets] have an upfront cost, it will save the university money in the long run and help against the drought,” Edmonson said.

Carrying On

According to the State Water Resources Control Board, statewide August improvements in water conservation failed to beat July’s reduction of 31.4 percent.

“I would guess the reductions were less in August because that would be one of the driest and hottest months,” Phillips said. “There’s less rain and people are just trying to keep their plants alive.”

Phillips expects similar results for September and says facilities management will continue to comply with state and local plans to carry on success through the winter.

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