SMC community finds ways to save water amid dry spell

The state of California has been through so much lately from protesting, to electing new city mayors, to numerous earthquakes, to a drought. Back in January, Governor Jerry Brown issued a voluntary statewide reduction in water consumption when water levels dropped to dangerous record lows. Though harsh legislation was passed aiming to decrease water usage by implementing $500 fines, water usage in coastal cities in southern California increased by 8.4 percent. According to Bruce Wyban, Director of Facilities Management here at SMC, the college is contributing with the states efforts in decreasing water usage.

The campus has 40 waterless urinals in the restrooms, saving a decent amount of our water. Wyban also said that the new building restroom standards include 1 pint per flush for urinals and 1.6 gallon per flush for toilets. This way water is saved every time a toilet is flushed. Since before the original amount of water used when flushing a toilet was around 3.5 GPF or higher.

Wyban also pointed out that 7 years ago, Santa Monica College had an artificial turf installed on the Corsair field, resulting in momentous water use reduction. Faculty has also gone ahead and eliminated the use of fertilizers since they could cause some extra water usage.

He also said that SMC’s faculty members continue to regulate the school’s use of water. For example, it is now an administration regulation that new landscaping must be drought tolerant. Faculty also claimed that many campus gardens are now native which helps when it comes to conserving water.

Students may not know the seriousness of the situation or that Governor Brown recently issued a statewide drought emergency. SMC student Deysi Gonzalez says that although she is not as well-informed as others, she is still following the details. She recently read that this is the worst drought for California and that crops are feeling the brunt of the heat. Deysi says she hasn't altered her personal daily water use and that “for now, I feel that I am not doing much of a change."

She suggested that SMC should create a project that will regulate water use and alert our community to reduce water consumption. As a way to change our personal daily water use, Deysi suggested,"We as a community should not use extra water to wash our cars." She also says we have to simply consider how much water we are actually using in simple daily tasks like washing dishes.

Another SMC student, Cesar Gaitan also mentioned that he does not know very much about the drought California is overseeing as of right now. He says he is willing to make a change even if its just for his own daily routine.

Overall, many students are willing to make a change on their own. Simple actions like refilling water bottles instead of throwing the plastic bottle away and reducing shower time were mentioned.

The governor explained that this being worst drought in its history, and residents throughout the state will feel the effects.

Also mentioned by Genevieve Bertone Director of Sustainability here at SMC's Center for Environmental and Urban Studies, the school hosts educational workshops that explain how we as a community can help others reduce their personal water usage.