You may have heard that 89 percent of Colorado is experiencing severe or worse drought. As of March 21, the South Platte River Basin, which includes Boulder County, snowpack is at 68 percent of average. Cities and counties across the state are announcing water usage restrictions, with Boulder officials asking residents not to turn on irrigation systems until May.
Our campus has a track record of conserving water: In the past 10 years, we’ve reduced water usage from more than 400 million gallons per year to about 250 million gallons (or from 64 to 23 gallons per square foot per year) by revamping our irrigation systems to use raw water, reducing water usage in labs, and upgrading restroom fixtures.
As we move into summer, we hope to be even more aggressive in our efforts at reducing water usage on campus, with a near-term goal of lowering water usage to 18 gallons per square foot per year.
How can you help? Here are some tips:
• Report leaking faucets, running toilets, and outdoor landscape irrigation inefficiencies to the campus conservation hotline (firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-735-6202).
• Take advantage of the water refill stations found across to avoid wasting plastic water bottles while staying hydrated.
• Turn facets off completely. Place the faucet lever in the cold position when using small amounts of water; placing the lever in the hot position uses energy to heat the water even when it never reaches the faucet.
• Take shorter showers. Turn off water while brushing your teeth or soaping up your hands or face for washing – you’ll use half a gallon instead of 10.
• Use professional car washes – save water, protect water quality, and clean your car.
• Run full loads in dishwashers and washing machines.
• Visit the Boulder County Water Conservation & Protection website to learn more.