Editorial: California’s conservation crisis

Although the heat wave is gone and the Bay Area has been damp for the past few days, California is still in a state of emergency. The campus could take on more conservation measures in terms of improvements and fixtures in operational inefficiencies.

The district has developed a water efficiency program that is serving as a model for all community colleges to address the drought. Skyline has taken on a few conservation measures to ensure improvements for not only irrigation and industrial water use, but also improvements for domestic water usage.

Back in February 2013, according to the sustainability plan, Skyline’s aim for water conservation was executed through installing an artificial turf on two soccer fields and the baseball field. With the synthetic turf now installed, the District will save approximately 5.8 million gallons of water and $370,000 per year. In addition to eliminating the need for irrigation, the campus has been able to reduce the use of air polluting lawn mowers, chemical pesticides and fertilizers, and maintenance labor as a result.

Skyline so far has done its part, as the signs all over campus state, by lowering the campus water usage by 25 percent. Other changes on campus have been made, such as replacing plants with desert plants. Recently, after the first two weeks of school, the fountain in the quad was turned off. Even though the fountain uses recycled water, the water does evaporate into the air, causing more water to be lost.
Compared to the other community colleges in the district, Skyline has made a number of significant and substantial changes as far as water consumption is concerned.

However, there are a few things the school could look into, such as checking for leaks in the older buildings and inside the walls. Leaks over time can cause a lot of damage and also waste water especially with the situation California is now in.
A few changes can also make a large impact including the reprogramming of the automatic toilets and faucets. According to Earth Science Profesor Dr. Carla Grandy, her class has tested the faucets on campus and concluded they run longer than needed for the average person.

Also, students and staff members have experienced the automatic toilets going off several times in a row, and even when the stalls are not in use. So from the automatic flushing of toilets and the no touch faucets in the bathroom, it has been acknowledged that these particular things run a lot longer than they should, and are problems that should be addressed.

The district and Skyline College still continue and are open to new ways of conserving water. However, even when reduction problems are being recognized, Skyline still must prioritize resources to keep up with maintaining a steady, comfortable learning environment for all students.