Sept. 2, 2014

What Facilities has already done

•Hired an irrigation specialist (hired January 2014)

•Hitting every irrigation controller (cutting back 20 to 50 percent in areas with mature landscaping)

•Cutting run times on other areas. If the area needs 12 minutes a day we are doing two six-minute segments to make sure there is no run-off into the streets and sidewalks.

•We have found areas that we’ve been watering that no longer need water (turning the controllers off).

•All landscape projects are now and will be in the future drought-tolerant plants.

•As we’ve gone through all of our controllers we have unfortunately found some leaks. As far as we know, all irrigation leaks have been fixed at this time.

•We know our lawns are a priority, but we have found some watering issues that have been corrected. Most of the issues revolved around sprinklers that needed adjustments and watering all at once, instead of in segments, to be sure all water is absorbed and there is no run-off.

•We have been working for the last couple of years to replace all urinals and toilets with low-flow flush-valves. We’ve been switching from 2.5-gallon flushes on toilets to 1.5. We’ve been switching 1.5 gallon flushes on urinals to ¾ gallon.

•We are in the process of changing out all shower heads with low-flow.

•We’ve been replacing all aerators on sink faucet to water restrictors.

Letter sent out to students:

Greetings All,

I hope this message finds all of you returning to campus from an enjoyable recess with renewed enthusiasm for the spring term. Especially for those of you who may have been out of state, or as a reminder for those who have remained in California, please be aware that our state is currently experiencing a severe water drought that Governor Jerry Brown has declared an emergency. As the drought is the worst on record and forecasts predict this year to be among state’s driest in 163 years. Governor Brown has called for a voluntary 20 percent water reduction by all Californians. Please join in and protect your environment.

Facilities Services has already begun addressing this need in curbing water usage across campus in ways such as using less water in landscaping efforts. In the residence halls specifically, staff are installing low-flow shower heads and sink faucet aerators. Still, we need all residents to assist in addressing this issue. Some steps you can take are as follows:

•Decrease the time you spend in the shower. You use 2.5 gallons a minute, (every minute counts). A few minutes a day could mean 375 gallons per person a month.

•Only use washing machines when you have enough items to constitute a full load.

•Refrain from running water while you are brushing your teeth.

•Reuse towels.

•Wash your car less frequently.

•If you have or observe a sink with a constant drip, be sure to enter a work request to have it repaired.

Understand that this is not a Saint Mary’s College of California issue, but a community issue. This drought threatens our neighbors including state farmers and firefighters. Your actions, and empowering your fellow students to be conscious of this concern, will go a long way to assisting California in this time of need.

Future Plans Under Consideration:

We are currently looking into computerized smart controllers to improve irrigation efficiency, and adding low water-use landscaping. We are also exploring converting high water-use lawns to sustainable landscaping around housing.

The following are possible conservation steps:

•Convert sprinklers in shrub areas to in-line drip irrigation.

•Replace conventional sprinkler nozzles with high-efficiency rotating or precision nozzles.

•Replace traditional irrigation timers with self-adjusting models.

•Install pressure regulators to improve system performance.

•Install sub-meters to improve leak detection and irrigation management.

For more information, contact Joe Kehoe, executive director, Facilities Services at (925) 631-4286 or jkehoe@stmarys-ca.edu.

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Saint Mary's College of California
1928 Saint Mary's Road
Moraga, CA 94575
(925) 631-4000
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