Despite the sporadic storms fueled by El Nino, California continues to find itself in a state of severe drought. With water conservation on everyone’s mind we decided to turn to some of our civil engineers and posed this question: What can we do to conserve water?
I would recommend installing an automatic irrigation system with irrigation controllers and moisture sensors. According to the EPA, as much as 50% of water used outdoors is wasted by traditional irrigation systems. Spending a bit more money upfront to upgrade your irrigation system can save a lot down the line in water bills.
Ryan Beaton, Project Engineer - San Francisco
As the centerpiece of our front garden, we installed cascading water channels that convey roof runoff to infiltration. It’s a water sculpture in Cor-Ten steel that gets compliments daily and recharges groundwater whenever it rains; rain water that used to be piped away in overloaded municipal systems. As engineers busy solving others’ design problems, we are prone to looking beyond our own doorsteps. This little project has brought my wife and I great satisfaction.
Andrew Haliburton, Civil Engineer – Portland
Shower with a friend! You can also save about 12.5 gallons per shower by installing a low flow showerhead.
Steve Murray, Principal – San Francisco
I read a great book a few years ago – “The Big Thirst – The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water” by Charles Fishman. Unlike most precious resources, water cannot be used up; it can always be made clean enough again to drink – indeed, water can be made so clean that it’s toxic. Water is the most vital substance in our lives but also more amazing and mysterious than we appreciate. A fun read for those interested in water – particularly in a time when water is at the forefront of a lot of discussions around the globe. While portions of California are currently experiencing a drought not seen in decades, there are many examples of cities around the nation and globe who have had to cope with the lack of potable water and develop solutions to their varying situations. One of the easiest ideas to implement is conservation.Matt Dolan, Principal– Portland
On an individual level, there are a number of small things we can do to conserve water: Be mindful and aware of our daily habits – fixing leaks, turning off the tap while brushing teeth or shaving, keeping showers short, running full load dishwashers and laundry machines, etc. After all, it is the little drops of water that make the mighty ocean! Also, in our professional practice as civil engineers, we do have opportunities to cast a larger net and reach a broader audience – Educating our clients/the end-users in sustainable stormwater management practices and promoting the use of rainwater harvesting, grey water systems, stormwater infiltration to recharge groundwater sources, water recovery from cooling towers, etc. on projects, as feasible...the possibilities are aplenty!
Neha Yadev, Civil Engineer - Los Angeles
ALWAYS turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth! Your family can save approximately 10 gallons of water per day.
Lorelyn Lucas, Civil Designer – San Francisco
« Back to News
For additional tips, here are some websites to check out: