Water Conservation

“Water is the 21st-century commodity that will most impact hunger, health and human life on the planet, and [these steps are] all part of the solution,” says Lynn Hinkle, a Water Project Manager in Kansas City, Mo., where a Greenprint program similar to Denver’s also is in effect.

Restroom Water Conservation

“Park and recreation facilities can also make major inroads into water conservation by retrofitting their restrooms with low-flow, or even no-flow, fixtures,” says Klaus Reichardt, founder and managing partner of Waterless Co. LLC, a leading manufacturer of waterless urinals and other restroom products. “For instance, in those facilities that provide shower rooms, the installation of low-flow showerheads can reduce water consumption by as much as four gallons per minute, while low-flow faucets can save 2 to 3 gallons of water per minute.”

According to Reichardt, this is a reduction of as much as 7 gallons of water per minute over older faucets without flow restrictors. Recent studies have shown that infrared and sensor-controlled faucets, which turn off the flow of water as soon as a user’s hands are removed from the faucet, are also water savers, reducing usage by as much as 1 gallon of water per use.

Water-use reduction also can be achieved through waterless urinal systems. These fixtures are cost-saving because they require less plumbing than conventional urinals. For example, the Presidio of Monterey–an army base located on California’s chronically drought-stricken MontereyPeninsula with a workforce of approximately 4,300 individuals, of whom 66 percent are men–retrofitted the men’s restrooms with 173 waterless urinals in 2002. A year later, the results showed the following savings:

· 11,490 gallons of water per day

· Approximately 3,000,000 gallons of water per year

· More than nine acre-feet* of water per year.

“The army estimates that these savings translate into a water/sewer charge cost savings of approximately $63,000 a year,” adds Reichardt.*

Additional savings can be achieved by installing a new, pressure-assisted toilet system. Many of these toilets have been installed in a number of hotels in Las Vegas, Nev., where water conservation has become paramount. While traditional toilets force waste down using gravity, pressure-assisted toilets use pressure created by compressed air, using considerably less water than a conventional toilet. Although this system has been reduced in price, it still tends to be more expensive than gravity system. However, the pressure-assisted system uses only about 1 gallon of water per flush, instead of the 1.6 or more gallons necessary for a traditional toilet or the 3 or more gallons used in some older models.

Water Conservation Is Key For Parks Going Green

As with facilities everywhere, parks and recreation centers are becoming greener, more sustainable and more environmentally responsible. However, issues such as energy use, which are of major concern to most building managers, are much less important in parks and recreation settings, where water conservation is the key. Fortunately, new systems and technologies are evolving that help make conserving water easier with little or no impact on park users.

*Based on $4.50 per 1,000 gallons of water used, as well as water and sewer charges.

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