The Orion

Help Chico wipe out the drought

Stephanie Schmieding

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Pete Bonacich, acting district manager of the California Water Service Co. in Chico, takes pride in his work done both on the scene and in his office to help preserve water during this devastating drought. Photo credit: Stephanie Schmieding

Cue the extreme heat, damaged crops and plant fatalities because Wildcats, we are in the midst of a devastating drought. We’re in crisis mode, no drought about it.

2013 marked one of the driest years on record for California, according to the California Water Service Co.. However, Butte County continues to suffer from a severe water shortage.

As these dry conditions continue to plague our natural resources, conservation of water has never been more important. So what can Chico State students do to help?

Pete Bonacich, acting district manager of the California Water Service Co. in Chico, attends to water conservation issues on a daily basis.

In most homes, about 68 percent of water is used in outdoor environments, said Bonacich.

For students that are living in off-campus apartments or homes with yards, the Toro sprinkler is just one example of a water-saving technology that is free to Cal Water customers.

“We used the sprinklers at one of our pump stations and did a study where we actually had savings of about 50 percent,” Bonacich said.

For indoor water use, Cal Water provides customers with free conservation kits that include a hose nozzle, a low-flow showerhead and kitchen or bathroom faucet aerators.

“What’s really hard for people a lot of the time is to change your habits, but with these things it’s built into them,” Bonacich said. “We’ve seen a tremendous amount of savings from people using water saving devices like that.”

While water-saving technology proves to result in excellent water conservation, there are more “common sense” elements to saving water that any college student is capable of, Bonacich said.

Here are some great tips:

1. Shorten that shower. Everyone enjoys taking that long, steamy shower after a big workout or stressful day. However, by shortening your shower even by a few minutes, you can save up to 75 gallons per month. Compensate for that shorter shower by splashing around in Bear Hole, One-Mile or the Sacramento River.

2. Fix that leaky faucet. Let’s face it, there’s usually one thing that doesn’t work in a college apartment. Although a leaky faucet doesn’t seem like it drips that much, Cal Water statistics show that a leaky faucet that drips just five times per minute can waste up to 200 gallons per year. So get that handyman in your apartment and save some water.

3. Turn the water off while brushing your teeth. Running the water while brushing your teeth can waste about 70 gallons of water per month, so turn it off and focus on brushing those pearly whites.

4. Don’t use the toilet as a trash can. Although this seems pretty self-explanatory, knowing what can and cannot be flushed down a toilet can help preserve gallons of water. An additional 5 to 7 gallons of water are used per flush when facial tissues, cigarette butts or trash is flushed down the toilet.

5. Wash full loads of laundry and dishes. Dishwashers are great. Who wants to wash those dishes by hand? However, when you use them, make sure you are only washing full loads of dishes to prevent wasting water. The same tactic goes for laundry loads. If you desperately need that pair of shorts or that cute top to be washed, check with your roommates to see if they have any clothes to throw in to make it a full load.

Stephanie Schmieding can be reached at [email protected] or @stephbottt on Twitter.

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Help Chico wipe out the drought