On Jan. 17, just one day after University of California President Janet Napolitano set a UC systemwide goal of decreasing on-campus water use by 20 percent by 2020, Governor Jerry Brown declared a “drought state of emergency” in California.
One month after UC Davis initiated the Drought Action Plan — a long-term program designed to invest in water-conserving appliances, implement “green” work habits in university facilities (e.g. Student Housing, Dining Services, laboratories) and eliminate water-wasting behavior on campus.
ASUCD passed Senate Resolution No. 16 this past February in support of the DAP. The resolution acknowledged the need to reduce water usage on campus and it encouraged UC Davis administrators to take action against hydro-waste, leading Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi to email the UC Davis community about water conservation. We appreciate ASUCD for increasing DAP awareness to the larger UC Davis population.
Recently, the Sustainable Resource Organization (SRO), a UC Davis student club dedicated to environmentally sustainable practices, became involved with the DAP in an attempt to support water-conservation among the student body. The SRO implemented a “Save Water” campaign, in which they placed stickers designed to raise awareness about reporting leaks in bathrooms and near other water-extraction sources.
Along with the sticker campaign, the DAP was used to expand publicly-accessible online information about the drought, implemented water-sustainable training to on-campus staff – especially in Student Housing and Dining Services – and continually reminded the UC Davis community via email about ways to reduce water waste.
Although the UC Davis administration is taking positive steps toward decreasing water use significantly, many students are still unacquainted with the DAP and/or are unaware of how they can conserve water.
With the knowledge that California is suffering from one of the worst-ever recorded droughts, our hope is that UC Davis students get the information they need in order to live water-savvy and ultimately help pull California out of its environmental state of emergency. The sticker campaign, as encouraging as it is, has yet to “stick” in the minds of students’, and we believe more aggressive action by the UC Davis administration, SRO and ASUCD through increased on-campus advertisement about the DAP will push students to live more sustainably.