Westmont is responding to the California drought by continuing to conserve water and by making additional cutbacks in consumption. “We’re committed to maintaining a sustainable campus and conserving resources such as water and power while complying with all county ordinances and expectations,” says President Gayle D. Beebe.
The Montecito Water District (MWD) has declared a water shortage emergency, directing all customers to decrease water usage immediately by 30 percent. Westmont is taking steps to exceed the 30 percent reduction. Last year, the college voluntarily consumed 20 percent or 6,800 hundred cubic feet (HCF) less than its allotment. Conservation efforts will help Westmont nearly double this amount and decrease consumption by 12,000 HCF below the reduced allotment for 2014.
To achieve this goal, Westmont is irrigating only with non-potable water (not from MWD) and is significantly reducing the amount of watering on campus. The Westmont Campus Life and Student Life offices are educating students about the importance of water conservation as well as installing new shower timers in each stall, holding competitions on conserving water among the residence halls, showing videos with tips for saving water, and encouraging stories about conservation in the student newspaper.
“We’re prepared to continue conserving and to make even more cutbacks should the drought persist,” Beebe says. “We’ll do our part to be a great neighbor.”
Westmont began cutting back its water consumption years ago by installing low-flow shower heads and toilets, using drip irrigation and planting drought-tolerant vegetation. From 2003 to 2013, the college’s annual water usage dropped nearly 17,000 HCF or 31 percent.