Did ART actually affect change in campus water usage?

By Jennifer Truong

During the phase where the ART on ART team started grouping past teams together based on subject to perform macroanalyses, I was given the task to analyze all of the past ART teams that deal with water, such as the Water Action Plan Team and all of the John Wooden Sustainability teams. The teams covered various topics relating to water usage, such as xeriscaping, artificial turf, and education.

Throughout ART’s eight year history, there have been nine teams (including this year’s Water Team) that have focused on changing water usage habits around campus. Half of the teams focused on water usage on locations owned by UCLA Recreation, such as the John Wooden Center and the IM Field. Another team focused on water usage at one of the fraternity houses.  When I gathered all of the data our team has collected from the final reports, it was amazing to see how much water and money some of the teams have saved by replacing shower heads. For instance, the John Wooden Sustainability team from 2010 saved 1.4 million gallons of water, which is $15,000 in water savings per year. That would be enough water to fill a football-field long swimming pool that is 50 feet wide and 10 feet deep (Source: USGS).

One particular team I have been analyzing for a while is the Native/Drought Tolerant Vegetation Team from 2010 (see my earlier blog post). Since diving into their final report and seeing their contributions to the campus first-hand, I gained a better understanding and respect of desert vegetation. Along with the classes I am taking for a conservation biology minor, I hope my experiences with ART will help me to find ways to improve our water situation in the future.

I would imagine ART having a bigger focus on water within the next few years, as the possibility of our water resources disappearing looms closer, especially in our current drought. There is still a lot to do and learn about our water, after all.