Water usage

Texas has experienced a severe drought with record losses totaling $5.2 billion in agricultural revenue, according to Reuters.

More specifically, San Antonio is getting closer to hitting new lows in rainfall while The University of Texas at San Antonio was recently recorded as the second highest consumer of water in the city.

According to recent San Antonio Water System (SAWS) studies, the university consumed 14 million gallons in June alone—UTSA had the third place on a ranking of institutions that consumed the most water in San Antonio. Interestingly, UTSA moved to second the following month, with about 17 million gallons of water. In 1917, San Antonio hit its record for lowest amount of rainfall with only 10.11 inches of rain. Currently, San Antonio is at 6.57 inches and the year is almost over. The San Antonio Water System updated the water conservation plan for the city back in 2009.

“Year round restrictions remain in effect if the Edwards Aquifer level is above 660 feet mean level at the monitored well,” said the report.

Stage one begins when the level drops below 660 feet. Stage two is triggered when the Aquifer level reaches 650 feet. Some restrictions in stage two include landscape watering with an irrigation system only once a week from 3-8 a.m. and 8-10 p.m.

Stage three will occur once the level hits 640 feet. Stage four can be declared at the discretion of the City Manager if “the water supply is insufficient to meet customer demand.”

In April, the city determined the plan was entering stage one. The University of Texas at San Antonio implemented a few measures to conserve water.

Some of the restrictions included once-a-week watering on Mondays, and for aesthetic water fountains to be turned off, which explains why the fountain in the Sombrillla has been off.

Other measures included facility monitoring of irrigation systems.

Dagoberto Rodriguez, member of the UTSA facilities team, explained the new water conservation initiatives the school currently has in place.

Some of the conservation measures include low-flow toilets, shower heads, and sinks installed on all campus facilities; low-flow urinals installed that are under performance testing in the Main Building and Business Building; Native landscaping and xeriscaping to minimize irrigation and the installation of synthetic turf at intramural fields. This installation would cause for irrigation to not be needed among other efforts, such as the installation of dual flow toilets installed at Chisholm Hall. Rodriguez also said “waterless urinals have been tested at various campus facilities but have not been successful.”

In May of this year, installation began for a synthetic grass turf. The project took place at the recreational field on the west side of the Main Campus. The new turf is set to be finished by the end of the summer.

This new installation will help UTSA with conserving water, as the new turfs do not require watering. The new turf is projected to save the university approximately 4.7 million gallons of water. SAWS is giving UTSA a rebate for water conservation, which helps the school gain additional funds.

Students feel that there needs to be stronger water conservation measures. Junior sociology major Robert S. Shaw IV, says that “the school needs to try to be green. It is unbelievable that we are the second-most consumer of water in the city. If previous plans have shown to fail, then why isn’t the school changing that?”

 

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