CSUN conserves water during drought season

Shaleeka Powell

Information courtesy of PPM and Chart by Sundial Production
Information courtesy of PPM and Chart by Sundial Production

The San Fernando Valley  has been in a substantial drought period for several years and the Physical Plant Management (PPM) team has continued to search for ways to conserve water and energy on campus at lower costs.

According to maven’s notebook webpage, said the dry years of the latest drought in California was 2007-2009.

Jim Logsdon, grounds and events manager of PPM, said CSUN conserves water on campus through a computerized irrigation system.

“In 2009, we began to use a computerized irrigation control system, which monitors temperature, wind speed and relative humidity, and it managed to save a lot of water over the years,” Logsdon said.

Logsdon also said employees of PPM set the basic parameters for the irrigation system to follow daily.

Bill Sullivan, energy manager of PPM, said the irrigation system calculates the transpiration rates and the amount of water needed while the Metropolitan Water Distribution (MWD), a statewide agency, provides funding for the irrigation system.

Transpiration is when water is carried through the roots of a plant to the atmosphere. The transpiration rates change depending on the weather.

The university buys all water from the Los Angeles department of Water and Power (DWP) because it is in their territory.

DWP purchases some of their water from MWD.

Sullivan said the irrigation system has saved the university money over the years.

From 2005 to 2006, the consumption of water on campus was 240,202 cubic feet. From 2009 to 2010, the consumption was 214,149 cubic feet. In 2011, the consumption was 197,152 cubic feet. From July to November 2012, the consumption was 136,935 cubic feet.

The more the numbers drop the more money the university saves, Sullivan said.

Jason Wang, senior director of PPM, said CSUN tries to be as energy efficient as possible and is very active in looking for energy saving opportunities. Wang said the university is taking on several projects and has chosen to remove grass.

“Grass is expensive due to fuel, equipment and water costs,” Wang said.

One of the projects will be to put native plants on sagebrush, because the grass is dead. Native plants do not require watering and should survive, which also saves the university money, Wang said.

PPM specifically plan on using the least amount of water at all times and the main uses of water are for drinking.

“We have motion sensors on faucets so people can’t flood and waste water,” Wang said.

Sullivan said CSUN has done well to get through the drought but could always be better prepared.

He said the university has put 265 waterless urinals around campus, which excludes urinals in the student union and north campus.

Logsdon said the PPM team provides a clean, healthy and safe environment for both CSUN students, faculty and staff, and that PPM makes sure students and faculty feel comfortable on campus.

Sullivan said it is important for individuals to conserve water.

“Try to effectively use what you have by turning off water and not taking long and hot showers,” Sullivan said. “Be thoughtful of those things and the cumultive effect.”