There is only so much water in the desert. Water conservation is important to desert communities like Utah. When communities are near the Mojave, such as the Salt Lake valley, the need for water can become critical fast.
Salt Lake Community College is doing its part to conserve.
“Salt Lake Community College’s new fountain near the STC on Taylorsville Redwood Campus is highly efficient,” according to John Cuthbertson, supervising plumber for SLCC.
Cuthbertson maintains the new fountain himself with the help of his staff. “None of the water goes to the drain. It goes to a reclaim tank underground,” says Cuthbertson.
When asked how SLCC is seeking to use less water Cuthbertson notes many new facilities at SLCC have waterless unrinals. The college is actively seeking to use less water.
“Think green,” Cuthbertson says.
There are different grades of water. Culinary water is okay to drink. It is also used on lawns for Utah homes quite often.
“The best way SLCC saves culinary water is by having no culinary water on lawns,” says Cuthbertson.
All the water used for the grass comes from canals. Kathy Shipley, who runs the Key Office at SLCC, notes that this water requires treatment to lower the acidity. This still saves the school thousands and thousands of dollars on the water bill despite the water treatment.
Watering occurs at all hours. The new irrigation watering system is using the canal water to keep the grass green. There is no drinkable water being wasted in grass watering like at a residence.
“Unfortunately, it does take twenty-four hours of constant watering to cover all of SLCC’s grass,” says Shipley.
Another element of water conservation at SLCC is zeroscaping. This means many parts of the landscaping at SLCC are being changed to require no water at all. “Aesthetics” or the pleasing appearance is how Shipley describes what gives balance to SLCC’s water conservation efforts. Dan Leonard is on the front lines of watering SLCC’s extensive green areas. He personally sees to other watering techniques. For better water absorption, the grass at SLCC is aerated with “deep tining.” Leonard says this is a much deeper aeration than what you would find at most residences.
Grass and flowers also receive separate watering schedules. This way the flowers stay presentable and the grass gets only the water it needs.
SLCC will continue to care for more campus areas with less water. Students can contribute by turning off facets after hand washing and report leaky water outlets to facilities for repairs.