Water Conservation Efforts Implemented on Campus

Taline Markarian, Staff Writer

Glendale Water and Power is reminding consumers that the city is suffering from a water shortage and is asking the community, which includes Glendale Community College, to conserve water.

The Glendale water conservation program started in 2009 because of an extreme water shortage in California.

“The reason why we went into mandatory water conservation was because there was a shortage of water in the reservoirs in California,” said Atineh Haroutunian from GWP.

GCC is also working hard to conserve water. Dan Padilla, the manager of maintenance at GCC, said that the school uses reformed water when watering the campus lawns.

“It’s cleaned up and filtered and then sent back to us chlorinated and that’s what we use for watering plants,” said Padilla. He said that he believes that’s a huge savings by itself because instead of unnecessarily using regular water, they’re using reclaimed water.

“There were pumping restrictions from Northern California, where we get the majority of our water pumped down from,” Haroutunian said. “There were legal issues with pumping restrictions for certain times of the year based on a certain species of fish so they couldn’t pump the water down.”

GWP provides 8.4 billion gallons of drinking water to 33,500 customers across Glendale, but they found that their supply was limited.

“What happens is we rely solely on the Colorado River, but they were having a drought, so when we rely on that, we have to go into a water shortage that’s called voluntary conservation.”

Glendale Community College took that into consideration and made sure it was doing its best not to waste any water.

“We’re also using reclaimed water in some of our restrooms for flushing toilets,” Padilla said. “We’ve eliminated water going to our urinals for all the men’s restrooms. We are using waterless urinals, they don’t require any flushing.”

When the conservation continued, all of Southern California was forced into mandatory water conservation mode in 2012 because there wasn’t enough water. This meant that GWP had to restrict water usage to its customers.

“We asked residents to conserve 10 percent of water and to cut down,” Haroutunian said.

People had to cut watering their landscapes down to three times a week and to save water they were using in the household. After all the worry, the community surprised GWP with their help, according to Haroutunian.

Customers were needed to save 10 percent, but ended up saving 18 percent, which was amazing Haroutunian said.

GWP has joined Pasadena, Burbank and Crescenta Valley to spread the word about the three-day water schedule and water conservation program in residents’ daily lives.

Padilla said that they’re on a tight schedule and they aren’t over watering in any way. The grounds department has also been trying to install drought resistant plants where possible so landscaping doesn’t demand as much water.

Although the community is being asked to preserve water, Glendale is currently in voluntary water conservation, which means it isn’t mandatory to conserve as much. If people decide not to continue cutting back, then Glendale and other nearby cities may be in trouble in the future.

“We recently lifted that conservation restriction, so our customers aren’t under that mandatory rule anymore, but we still encourage everyone to continue to conserve because we never know what’s going to happen,” said Haroutunian.

“We don’t know how long these shortages might continue, how long the Colorado River will be in a drought. If pumping restrictions do come down again this the summer, then we’d have to reactivate the mandatory water conservation,” Haroutunian said.

Also, Haroutunian said water conservation saves money on monthly water and power bills, which will benefit everyone in the community.

GWP suggests that residents follow some easy ways to conserve water around the house.

Glendale Water and Power and the rest of Southern California are relying on their communities to help them with the water shortage by thinking before overusing.

Water Conservation Tips

  • Turn off the faucet when brushing teeth.
  • Do not hose down driveways, staircases and balconies.
  • While waiting for the shower to warm up, fill the cold water in a bucket and then use it to flower plants.
  • Take faster showers. A shorter shower will save 2.5 gallons per minute.
  • Do not use toilets as trash cans. This will save 1.6 gallons every flush.
  • Most importantly install water-efficient products in bathrooms, for the landscaping and throughout the household.