Water scarcity has become a global issue that is increasing every year. In the state of Georgia, in particular, droughts have been a major issue over the last decade causing much of the state to be put on water restriction. Agnes Scott’s campus is located in Dekalb County which receives water from the Chattahoochee River. In order to help conserve as much water for the rivers and lakes, universities need to make a framework to allow for innovative ideas and research to reduce as much water use as possible.
The Agnes Scott water footprint focuses on not only water consumption but the quality of water that returns to the local watershed. Agnes Scott’s water plan takes on three components to reduce the college’s impact on the local watershed.
Renovate, Reduce, & Innovate
Renovations in the campus buildings will be the initial component that will always be an ongoing project to help each building be updated with new fixtures such as low flow or dual flush bath fixtures. Next, reducing the amount water consumption on campus will achieved through education and behavioral changes with students, staff and faculty. Lastly, innovative ideas to help reduce water consumption and improve water quality will become possible with additional funding in the college’s future plans. These components will continue over time as a cycle such as with new technology advances or financing. Below is an overview of ASC’s potential water plan goals and targets to help reduce water consumption and improve water quality in Dekalb County’s watershed.
Potable water can be defined as all water that is safe for human consumption that comes through pipes to all fixtures such as faucets, water coolers, toilets, etc. In many cases, any source that publishes their water footprint typically focuses on potable water consumed, as this type has the greatest potential for reduction and cost savings. Potable water, in most cases, will have the most understanding when educating the community and result in the most impact in water consumption.
Retrofit, Reduce & Innovate
Agnes Scott’s goal is to reduce its potable water footprint by an overall reduction of 15 percent in total annual water consumption (in gallons) over five years from a 2009 baseline. The indicator for our target is total annual water consumption because it will provide an overview of the total water used on campus per year during this time frame. In order to reach our target goal, the college has performed an audit of the campus buildings and the consumption to identify potential water savings with retrofits of fixtures to improve overall water efficiency. After consideration, the residential buildings will take priority because they were found to make the largest impact on water consumption on campus. The cost savings for replacing current showerheads with low flow showerheads on campus could be approximately $28,221. With financial consideration, the first year dorm halls will be retrofitted in the first round of renovations in order to begin the behavioral changes among the first year students when they first arrive on campus. The first year halls will have retrofits of showerheads, faucets and potentially toilets and hopefully the payback period for these projects should be within a year’s time.
ASC Water Consumption Goals