In response to a mandate to reduce its water usage by 25 percent, Cuesta College decreased its water usage by 44.2 percent in the year 2015.

In May 2015, the college announced it was making significant changes to its landscaping and facilities as a result of California Governor Jerry Brown’s mandate to reduce water usage by 25 percent of the college’s 2013 calendar-year usage. According to interim Cuesta College Vice President of Administrative Services Chris Green, the college used a total of 72.27 acre feet of water in 2015; during 2013, the use was 129.53 acre feet.

“The 57.26 acre feet of savings is equivalent to 18.6 million gallons of water,” said Green. “It is significant to note that this reduction is for the entire year of 2015, even though we did not implement the water saving measures until May.”

Both the San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles campuses underwent various landscaping changes that are significantly reducing water usage. “All landscaping has been impacted in some way,” said Cuesta College Director of Facilities Services Planning and Capitol Projects Terry Reece. Landscaped areas of the college that were removed are being converted to include drought-resistant plants and wood bark.

Additionally, the college is in the process of replacing a total of 120 toilets and 34 urinals with low-flow versions, saving the District 2.25 gallons per flush. The college also continues to convert various water faucets to metered faucets, and an air cooled chiller was installed on the North County Campus last year.

The reductions do not save the District any funds. As a part of the California State Water Project, the District pays an annual set fee for its water allowance. “There are no refunds for water savings nor is there a way to buy more water if we exceed our allowance,” explained Reece. “The District is saving water in order to be a responsible State organization and also comply with the recent reduction mandate.”

For more information, please call the Cuesta College Facilities Department at (805) 546-3100, ext. 2210.