For any local resident who doesn’t completely shut off all forms of news and media it is only stating the obvious to say that California, particularly the southern half of it, is in a serious drought.
Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in January and has ordered state officials to take every action necessary to prepare for water shortages. If the factors that have lead us into this drought continue, we will all find ourselves needing to make serious adjustments to our way of life in the near future.
What is being done about the drought at Fullerton College?
Some individuals like Randy Harris, the school’s manager of maintenance and operations are already taking serious action.
“We’ve had to cut the running time for our sprinklers to a bare minimum,” Harris said. “I can no longer allow people to use running water to clean concrete or asphalt surfaces, which makes completing those projects much more difficult.”
It isn’t just people at the top who are looking for solutions to saving water either. Harris explained further about several employees who work in the landscaping department that recently attended a meeting about drought-tolerant grass.
“At the meeting they discussed several types of grass sod that need little to no water,” Harris said. “The major problem right now is that these varieties are very expensive.”
Harris also expressed a serious interest in reclaimed or recycled water.
Reclaimed water is defined by Takashi Asano and Audrey D. Levine as “the end product of waste water reclamation that meets water quality requirements for biodegradable materials, suspended matter and pathogens.”
Using reclaimed water for a variety of purposes, including drinking, is now possible with the advanced water technology used in treatment facilities.
The most common uses for reclaimed water are industrial cooling for machinery and irrigation for cash crops.
The Horticulture Department is having a major spring plant sale on California native plants, many of which are drought tolerant to the point of surviving through the amount of rainfall that Southern California receives annually. Although rather small, the department is doing its part to plant California natives in the local area.
Adjustments have been made and will continue to be made by the departments on campus that are most directly affected by the water supply or lack thereof as we move further and further into the drought crisis. But what steps are being taken by Fullerton College as a whole?
Professor Sean Chamberlin teaches oceanography, meteorology, earth science and marine biology at Fullerton College, believes that the school could be doing a lot more. As the author of, “The No-Nonsense Guide to Replacing Your Lawn with Low-Water-Use Plants,” he knows firsthand that convincing people to make adjustments is hard work.
“Before writing the book, I was naïve in thinking that people would be eager to make the changes I talk about, Chamberlin said. “But the reality is that most people are resistant to change.”
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California held a forum in 2013 where local universities and community colleges presented solutions created by students to tackle the water issues that are facing Southern California.
Fullerton College was one of the schools in attendance along with California State University Long Beach, Loma Linda University, Loyola Marymount University, Mt. San Antonio College, Pasadena City College, San Diego State University and the University of California Los Angeles to name a few.
With the current drought crisis being undeniable, everyone across the board will be required to start making major changes to their daily habits.
Another major concern over the drought is that water will become incredibly expensive in this state and prices could remain in place even after major solutions to solving the drought problem have been implemented.