USD conserves water while students stay hydrated
By Gwyneth Shoecraft
As last week’s high-pressure system pushed San Diego County into record high temperatures, residents were advised to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Yet liquid resources are running low in California: The entire state is experiencing an unprecedented drought. Though the heat will eventually break, the drought will continue to persist.
According to the United States Drought Monitor, just over 80 percent of California is experiencing an extreme drought, while nearly 60 percent of the state is threatened by exceptional drought circumstances.
Nearly all of San Diego County is experiencing extreme drought. In early July, the City of San Diego officially entered a Level 1 drought condition, a declaration that places both mandatory and voluntary water restrictions on businesses and residents of San Diego.
Understanding the severity of the ongoing drought, the University of San Diego’s Office of Sustainability began a campuswide “Waste No Water” campaign in March 2014.
Sustainability Coordinator Paula Morreale said the campaign included workshops and outreach to students on how they could cut down their water usage. Morreale said there will be more events held this fall, as the Office of Sustainability has teamed up with San Diego County Water Authority in an effort to educate students about California’s ongoing drought.
Morreale said the drought will continue to concern both California and USD.
“This is an issue that is not leaving anytime soon,” Morreale said. “In the meantime, we urge the university community to be conscious of their water use and report any water leaks immediately.”
As the dry and hot conditions in San Diego persist, the Office of Sustainability is also making it easier for students to stay hydrated. New water refill stations have been installed to water fountains across campus to promote the use of reusable water bottles instead of single-use plastic bottles.
Sophomore Sara Kramer appreciates the new fountains. Kramer said that unlike regular water fountains, the refill stations allow her to completely fill her reusable water bottle.
Kramer said the new refill stations may also persuade students to go green.
“It gets people to use reusable ones versus plastic ones because now it’s super easy to refill it,” Kramer said.
Senior Darcy Mikrut also believes the refill stations are a change for the better.
“I think the water bottle refill stations are a great idea and correspond with our campus’ goal to be more green,” Mikrut said.
Sustainability Coordinator Paula Morreale said that the installation of the fountains is connected to the greater goal of sustainability.
“We want to develop a culture of reuse instead of single use,” Morreale said. “By utilizing a reusable water bottle you are cutting down on energy and resources that go into making single-use water bottles, so you are being more sustainable by saving resources.”
Using the newly installed water refill stations could ultimately save more water than the fountain dispenses. According to NPR, it takes 1.4 liters of water to make one liter of potable water for single-use bottles. According to the Water Footprint Network, a Dutch nonprofit organization, it can take up to seven times the amount of water inside single-use bottles to create the bottle itself.
Students who take advantage of these new water refill stations will have the ability to stay hydrated through this month’s high heat, along with the knowledge that the fountain is not contributing to wasting the water California so desperately needs.