FUSD Cuts Back on Water Usage in Midst of Drought

Changes made at District level, but individuals still encouraged to conserve water

By Karthik Mayilvahanan | Editor in Chief

Water levels have hit devastating lows in Folsom Lake, CA. The FUSD is currently considering ways to cut back on water usage.

After going through its driest year on record in 2013, the state of California finds itself in a severe drought. On January 17, Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency and called for a 20% reduction in water consumption throughout the state. According to FUSD Manager of Maintenance Gene Wheatley, the District has been working with the Alameda County Water Department to meet this goal.

“Most of this will be achieved by adjusting the amount of irrigation we use on the sports and play fields as well as the front landscaping.” said Mr. Wheatley. “We will need to eliminate any washing down of sidewalks, driveways, building surfaces or other flat surfaces and turning off decorative water fountains that do not have recirculated water. As we move forward we will be more specific in how we can reduce the water use on athletic and recreational fields.”

The District Maintenance Department is close to finishing a proposal to account for the drought. “A memo will be going out soon to the school principals to distribute outlining the proposed steps for reduction,” said Mr. Wheatley.

Small steps are being taken at Irvington as well. Maintenance Technician Martin Rangel said that maintenance is “cutting back on filling in the pool at correct levels” on certain days. Interim Assistant Principal Melissa Antonacci said that Irvington administration has not discussed the drought yet, but added that she is “sure” that they will have that discussion.

One common idea shared by the District and Irvington High School is that individuals need to be more conscious of water consumption.

“Water is a basic human necessity. We all need to use it, so we all are responsible for it.” said AP Environmental Science teacher Mrs. Anand. “We need to limit unnecessary water use both at home and at school.”

ASB Green Commissioner, senior Tiffany Ta, agreed, suggesting that students must be more aware of their water consumption. “I think educating students about the drought is the best way to go,” said Ta. “If we can inspire some action through the students, the school would reduce its water consumption.”

At this point, all reductions in water usage are voluntary. This may not be the case, suggested District Senior Irrigation Technician Patrick Majeski. “If we go into another year of drought, it could become a mandatory 20% reduction [in water consumption],” noted Mr. Majeski. For now, the FUSD continues to ask students and employees to be aware of the water they use and cut back whenever possible.