The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Preserving a precious resource on campus

As a part of Water Day, a discussion was held Tuesday in the Presentation Room of the Oviatt Library, giving students an opportunity to learn about water conservation at CSUN and in the San Fernando Valley.

“CSUN is using a lot of water, whether it is direct or indirectly,” said Dr. Mechelle Best of the Department of Recreation and Tourism Management, who spoke about the steps CSUN is taking to reduce its water consumption.

Best said 60 percent of the water used at CSUN is used for irrigation of gardens, plants and trees, and sport fields. The other 40 percent is consumed by food preparation and water usage in buildings such as bathrooms.

“Even though water is a resource we can’t live without, we really don’t focus on it much,” Best said. “60 percent is pretty high for 350 acres or so, when most of the property is buildings.”

Best said CSUN consumes 3.59 million gallons per day, by student and faculty members.

“Water is still too cheap, and there is no incentive (for administration) to do things on a larger scale on this campus,” Best said.

She added CSUN administration is looking into water-saving techniques, such as low-flow toilets, faucet aerators and waterless urinals.

“Our performance is at a point where we need to come up with a strategy,” Best said. “But it will take some convincing to make changes.”

Best presented numbers to those in attendance comparing the water usage of three other universities — Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, UC Berkeley and Stanford — with CSUN. The numbers revealed CSUN had the highest water consumption with 3.59 gallons per day (GPD).

Stanford was third with 2.3 GPD. But she said “Stanford has taken a proactive approach to water conservation.” The numbers did not take into consideration their different necessities.

Although the CSUN administration is looking into ways to improve the university’s water consumption, Best said they have some concerns.

“The campus has to look a certain way. It has to be pretty and attractive,” she said.

Helen Cox, the director of the Institute for Sustainability, said the event was not only to make students aware of CSUN’s water usage but also to educate students.

“Water conservation is the most important,” she said. “But part comes from awareness of where it comes from, and the realization that climate change and competing entities are having an impact on the amount of water available.”

Both Best and Cox said student participation can contribute to the decrease of the water usage on campus.

“Turn off the tap and use the smallest amount to do the necessary,” Best said. “Most importantly, bring it to someone’s attention when there are leaks.”

Best said leaks are to be fixed within a 24-hour time period.

“At this point, the administration is considering some options,” she said. “But it isn’t cost-effective for them to necessarily do more things.”

Cox added the Institute for Sustainability is working with administration to make changes and that students can become involved with the Associated Students environmental group to make their voices heard on this issue.

Victoria Valdez, a business management major, said the event provided her with information she did not know.

“So far I’ve learned a lot of things about water recycling,” said Valdez, 24. “I now know what is going on – these are things you never learn about unless someone tells you.”

She added CSUN should be recycling rainwater to use on all the green areas.

“It’s important that we start saving more,” Valdez said.

Senior nursing major Amber Grayson, 28, said she learned more about the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. She said she hoped to get involved.

“I already joined the campus sustainability Facebook to receive updates on events,” she said.

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