A drought of awareness in California

Biola addresses California’s persistent drought issues through various campus adjustments.


Infographic by Angelica Abalos/THE CHIMES

Alondra Urizar, Writer

Due to the ongoing drought in California, Biola is making adjustments in the campus pool equipment, more conscious water features in upcoming buildings and drought tolerant foliage to conserve water.


On Jan. 17, 2014, a statewide drought emergency was declared by California State Governor Jerry Brown, when California’s three largest reservoirs were drained. With three years of dryness, the state now has millions of acres of empty reservoirs which cannot be filled with even a heavy storm, according to an article by the California Department of Water Resources.

With the recent rainfall, the Suburban Water Systems, the California division of SouthWest Water Company who supplies water to the La Mirada and West Covina, will receive new evaluations from the CDWR during March and April of 2015 to evaluate whether or not the state is still in a state of drought emergency, said SouthWest Water Company conservation manager, Darlene Phares.


Facilities management is replacing a pool pump and filter to eliminate backwash during the spring 2015 semester, said Brian Phillips, senior director of facilities management. Backwash is an automated maintenance routine of pumping water in reverse so the filter component can be reused. With the new pump and filter, extra water will not be wasted during the maintenance routine of cleaning the filters.

“We had an option of selecting a more expensive filter that saves over 100,000 gallons a year because it doesn’t require backwash. Backwash … essentially sends water down the drain,” Phillips said.

On top of adding a new pool pump and filter, facilities management plans to use water friendly plumbing that will be a new standard with all new construction, Phillips said.

“North Hall is being planned with all new water saving fixtures that are designed to save at least 20 percent the water usage we see with our typical fixtures on campus,” Phillips said.

On top of those, facilities management will also be utilizing more drought friendly plants, such as shrubs and trees that require less water.

“We’re shifting over to drought tolerant type plants on campus. We’re seeing a shift towards shrubs and plants that just don’t require a ton of water and but still look nice. We’re [planning] that for North Hall, we’re planning that for the new science building; we’re seeing that as we renovate areas,” Phillips said.

Facilities management has not begun restricting shower times for students on campus and there have been no restrictions coming from La Mirada. No residents or businesses have been cited for water usage either. However, Phillips said students should be aware of their water usage.

“We are trying to be good stewards in knowing that there is a drought. We’re trying to make a difference in that area. Irrigation water and shower water are probably the two largest uses of water on this campus. So, if we really wanted to look at the low hanging fruit, some encouragement for students to just be mindful of their showers,” Phillips said.

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