By Paul Cleland- Water
Given the task to reduce water consumption at UCLA during the worst drought in California’s recorded history is no easy feat. The team’s first meeting, which occurred before our first meeting with our stakeholders, revolved around the task of creating our main research objectives. Not sure of the expertise our stakeholders would bring to our action research, our team had high hopes for our initial objectives: drought-tolerant landscaping water use analysis, developing recommendations on sustainable irrigation practices, and a cost-benefit analysis of water-saving bathroom fixtures.
We finally got a chance to meet with one of our stakeholders, Derek Gomez, the UCLA Plumbing Shop Manager, at the end of last week. As a first-time stakeholder he expressed his excitement about being able to guide us in our 20-week Action Research excursion. Though Derek is not familiar with irrigation practices or drought-tolerant landscaping, he did express comfort with guiding us in fixture-related research.
This week we again met with Derek as well as our second stakeholder, Nurit Katz, Chief Sustainability Officer at UCLA. Well-versed in sustainable practices, Nurit and the team discussed our initial objectives and were finally able to solidify some research objectives that are more within our capacity to complete. We hammered down that we want to audit UCLA buildings and areas where fixture information is missing, research best practices at other universities, and develop recommendations for water saving measures or retrofits. Derek will help provide what information there is and what there isn’t on fixtures on campus. In addition, Nurit has guided us towards some sustainability-related papers. One of which is UCSB’s Water Action Plan as well as a Water Action Plan master’s thesis by a group of UCSB graduate students. From these papers we hope to gain a better understanding of what other UC campuses are doing to reduce their water consumption and what we as a team can do to reduce UCLA’s water usage.