The Orion

Water week promotes conservation efforts

Elaine Knudsen

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Water week was not just for the students, concerned community members also were attended the booths in the gauntlet. Photo credit: Elaine Knudsen

Water week was put on by the Environmental Advocates in order to teach students where their water actually comes from, where it’s going and how to help.

“This week was our idea to get drought information to students in an accessible way,” said Taylor Wetzel, project coordinator.

In collaboration with Associated Students Sustainability, the event featured presentations throughout the week. Topics included: Water for the future of California, a campus sustainability tour and a frack free presentation.

Water week also focused on where water goes and how much water students use everyday. A household in Chico uses an estimate of 68 percent of it’s water outdoors.

However, the biggest compromiser of ground water is fracking, the process of injecting liquid at high pressure into underground rocks in order to force open existing fissures and extract oil or gas.

Water week featured spokesperson David Garcia, National Outings leader from the Sierra Club. He spread his knowledge of the dangers of fracking to students in one of the presentations that was held.

He explained that fracking uses 90 billion gallons of water a year which is the same amount that the city of San Diego or San Francisco also uses in a year.

“Students look around and see all these streams and lakes and think we have all this water, but in reality they only amount to one percent of fresh water,” Garcia said. “The other 99 percent of water comes from ground water, which is why we need to protect it.”

The average rate of well failures is 6.6 percent because of fracking. David explained that after 30 years, that rate becomes 50 percent. A single frack well could contain enough contaminants to put 100 billion gallons of drinking water at unsafe levels.

In addition to having speakers discuss the dangers of fracking, the Environmental Advocates handed out flyers all week in the Gauntlet along with free water conserving nozzles for students’ sinks and showers along with drip indicators to limit water waste for home toilets.

The students at the water week tables handed out legal information regarding the drought as well Chico State’s plans to let several lawns go dry and their initiative to plant water resistant plants.

“This is the first time we have ever done an event like this,” said Amanda Carpenter, member of Environmental Advocates. “Our goal is to spread awareness and to trigger how high the importance the drought is to students.”

Elaine Knudsen can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.

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Water week promotes conservation efforts