Water usage slashed amid continued drought

By Aaron Castrejon

With water levels at record lows, the Three Valleys Municipal
Water District has reduced the amount Cal Poly Pomona purchases by
more than half for the fiscal year of July 2009-June 2010.

Cal Poly Pomona, however, is capable of handling the temporary
reduction, according to George Lwin, Energy Services manager.

“We do have new residential buildings coming online next year
that will add to our demand, but we should be able to stay in the
allocation amount,” said Lwin.

The TVMWD has initiated the Water Supply Allocation Plan,
adopted by the MWD in November 2008, which is a water-sharing plan
that ensures fair distribution in times of supply crises.

According to information from the TVMWD, from 2006, Cal Poly
Pomona was allocated 269 AF, or acre-feet, of water. An acre-foot
is equivalent to 325, 830 gallons of water. Cal Poly Pomona’s
allocation has been reduced to 176 AF for the period of July 1,
2009 to June 30, 2010.

Cal Poly also utilizes several wells and reservoirs located in
Pomona: an Upper Reservoir located at Ridgeway and Valley Blvd. and
a Lower Reservoir located at Exchange Place and Pomona Street.

The campus has also been reducing its water consumption every
year since 2006 from almost 200 AF to a little over 150 AF last
year. Lwin credits the campus plumbers who monitor and manage the
production of potable water, as well as the building services
engineers who repair and replace inefficient fixtures.

Mario Garcia, engineer with the TVMWD, described how the new
restriction works. The MWD tracks the water supply and allocation
plan over a fiscal year basis from July to June. At the same time,
the MWD tracks the regular allocations on a calendar year basis,
from January to December, but would be reduced through the Water
Supply Allocation Plan for the fiscal year period.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency
Feb. 27 in response to a drought that has dragged on for three
years. In February, Schwarzenegger said, “We must prepare for the
worst – a fourth, fifth or even sixth year of drought.”

“The most important factor was the court-ordered restrictions
being put on the ability to deliver water via the Delta from
Northern California,” Garcia said.

In Nov. 2008, California officials ordered additional cuts to
the amount of freshwater pumped from the Sacramento-San Joaquin
Delta in order to protect fish. The total cut from average amounts
almost reached half.

Landscape Services uses 75 percent reclaimed water to irrigate
the crops and over 600 acres of landscaping on campus, according to
Leon Krebs, supervising plumber with facilities management. “The
reclaimed water comes from the L.A. County Reclaimed Water Basin,”
he said.

The water is then purchased from the city of Pomona.

Cal Poly Pomona has also invested in a central irrigation
system, which has the ability to monitor water usage and alert
technicians of broken water lines, missing irrigation heads and
clock or valve malfunctions, said Farmer. But much of the
irrigation system is almost 50 years old. Combined with vandalism
and damage to the system, maintaining it is difficult, especially
given the fact there are many more restrictions placed on the usage
of reclaimed water.

In the future, Cal Poly Pomona is looking into installing a
filtration plant to further reduce purchased water, Lwin said.

Reach Aaron Castrejon at:

Water usage slashed amid continued drought

Aaron Castrejon/Poly Post

Water usage slashed amid continued drought

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