At WSU, we are proud of our record in water conservation. Water consumed annually on the WSU Pullman campus over the last two decades has decreased by 31 percent, from 681 million gallons in 1986 to 478 million gallons in 2006. During that same time, our enrollment increased by nearly 2,500 students and our square footage of campus facilities increased by 26 percent.
Establishing the turf for the new golf course during the summer of 2007 consumed 44 million gallons of water and did result in a modest increase in water consumption over 2006 from 478 million gallons to 503 million gallons. However, that was still lower than the consumption in 2005.
When the expanded golf course is fully operational in 2009, we estimate campus water use will be at the same level as 2005; even if the golf course requires 55 million gallons, our highest estimate of its potential water use. It is worth noting that 2005 was the last year the old nine-hole golf course was in operation, so the current projection for water consumption with the expanded golf course in full operation is no higher than the water consumption in the last year operating the old course.
WSU plans to continue to seek funding to develop a wastewater-reuse plan. Wastewater reuse would serve the needs of both the city of Pullman and WSU by supplying water to irrigate not just the golf course, but other parks and green spaces as well as provide for the possibility of using reclaimed water for process-cooling or boiler-feed water. This is an environmentally wise effort to avoid taking water for irrigation from the aquifier.
The real story about WSU water conservation is one of innovation, progress and social responsibility demonstrated by initiatives such as:
- Construction of a more water efficient steam plant which saves us approximately 30 million gallons of water per year;
- Aggressive efforts in leak detection and repair resulting in water savings of 11.5 milion gallons per year;
- Elimination of water wasting equipment garnering another 10 million gallons annually in water savings.
See how well we are doing. View WSU’s 2012 Water Use Efficiency report