Reorganization of Sustainability Efforts
After several years of using a council-appointed task force to assist the city with its sustainability efforts, it was determined that a different approach would need to be taken to complete the Green College Station Action Plan prior to the conclusion of the Department of Energy grant we received in 2009. The Action Plan, which will address energy efficiency, renewable energy, air quality, water conservation, protection of green areas and green house gas emission reduction as it pertains to the city organization, will be presented to the council for approval in 2012.
Using Department of Energy stimulus grant funding, Parks and Recreation was able to complete the installation of irrigation system upgrades and smart controllers as well as LED parking lot lighting and solar-powered trash compactors at Veteran’s Park and Central Park. Several pilot projects were also undertaken to reduce costs and promote conservation, including the use of nitrogen in vehicular tires, synthetic motor oil, retreaded tires on certain equipment and a lighter weight copy paper city wide.
The sweltering heat and lack of rain we’ve experienced in recent months could help College Station set a dubious record – for water demand. We’re not alone as that scenario is being replayed across Texas. The situation hasn’t led us to mandatory water rationing, but we shouldn’t wait until we reach that point to begin taking proactive measures to conserve water.
Water is far too precious a resource to be wasted, and we all should strive to prevent water waste. Efficient water use should always be a concern, not just in a drought. When water utilities get to the point of actually having to ration water – restricting amount or days of water use – that means the situation has become critical. If we conserve before we reach such a crisis, perhaps we can avoid it altogether.
Although water demand in March, April and May shattered our previous records, our water supply has kept pace with demand. But with the hottest months still ahead, we can expect the demand to rise. Daily water demand trends are available on the city website, which is updated every weekday. Those big dips on the graph are the rare rain events we’ve enjoyed.