Water is essential to our daily lives in more ways than can fit into this article. Drinking and sanitation are the most common and most important use of water we all share. To get the water necessary to survive we pump groundwater out of the local basin. Unfortunately, we also pump groundwater from the basin for all our unnecessary uses like watering the grass or taking an hour to shower. If we were to use recycled water to irrigate our campus we would limit the amount taken from groundwater basins and slowing the rate of saltwater intrusion.
California has implemented many measures to reduce water usage on state owned property, by 2020 the CSUs are to use 20 percent less water than they had in 2013. California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) has responded to the state mandate to reduce water usage by installing some more efficient plumbing, asking students to use less water, and reducing the amount of irrigation on campus.
In 2013, irrigation made up more than half of CSUMB’s total water usage, using over 90 acre-feet of water. In 2015, as concern for California’s drought, many people across campus demanded the irrigation of certain areas halt. As a result of the public outcry irrigation on campus was dramatically reduced, using less than 30 acre-feet of water. Each year since 2015 our campus has began to use more and more water for irrigation, in 2018 our campus used about 75 acre-feet.
Our campus prides itself on its sustainability and has taken many measures to improve the efficiency of our water usage, but there is always more that can be done. Currently the water we use to irrigate our campus is the same water we would drink or bathe with. Local groundwater is suffering from salt water intrusion due to over pumping. Instead of using perfectly good water for grass’ sake, we should use recycled water from the water treatment plant at Marina Coast Water District.
This would prevent unnecessary pumping from the groundwater basin and the recycled water being used to irrigate our campus would eventually work its way into the groundwater basin, slowing the process of salt water intrusion.
CSUMB has a responsibility to be a leader for environmental change needed to lessen harm to our planet. If our campus were to use recycled water for irrigation other public institutions may do the same, eventually leading to changes in private businesses in the local area. I encourage CSUMB to partner with the Marina Coast Water District to provide recycled water to irrigate our rec fields, main quad, and other green spaces across campus.