Natomas Unified tightens water use amid drought

--- Published on April 28th 2015 ---
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Committed to saving water at all its campuses, Natomas Unified already has instituted conservation measures in response to California’s drought and will expand those efforts in coming weeks, then tighten the spigot even further this summer to minimize use and maximize waste prevention.

“Like families throughout the state, we recognize that every drop of water saved is vital as reservoir levels drop statewide,” Superintendent Chris Evans said. “NUSD will continue to cut its water usage, react quickly to any report of a water leak, and deploy water-saving technology and landscaping whenever possible during California’s drought.”

To report water waste or to express a concern, question or comment or suggestion about the District’s conservation efforts, please call NUSD’s Constituent and Customer Services, 916-561-5253.

Natomas Unified has developed both short- and long-term plans for water conservation, with the goal of using as little water as possible while ensuring student safety during the final six weeks of the current school year, then expanding efficiency this summer and developing plans for use of water-saving technology – such as rain or soil moisture sensors – and for water efficiency in the design of future classrooms and buildings.

Current efforts to save water include:

  • Keeping irrigation off as long as possible during Spring
  • Reducing watering by 50 percent at our two sites with wells – Natomas High and NP3
  • Retraining and reminding custodial staff of water conservation awareness and expectations
  • Prompt response by Maintenance and/or Grounds staff to any water leak calls, complaints or work orders

Over the next six weeks, until the school year ends:

  • Water recreational fields and other non-essential turf areas – not used for physical education or athletics – on a lighter schedule, two days a week
  • Weekly checks by Grounds staff to ensure efficiency of the irrigation system
  •  Prompt response by Maintenance staff to any work orders for water leaks inside school buildings, such as toilets, sinks, faucets and drinking fountains

During the summer:

  • Any summer landscaping projects will minimize the use of turf and incorporate the principles of “Xeriscaping,” using native plants that require less water, are more drought resistant and require less maintenance
  • Increase turf aeration from quarterly to monthly, thus getting water to the roots while minimizing usage.
  • Upgrade sprinklers to use pressure-regulated heads and rotors at several school sites
  • Continue to deploy water-saving technology in restrooms and classrooms

Future efforts through NUSD Facilities Master Plan

  • Develop district-wide specifications for irrigation and plumbing
  • Design and construct water-efficient schools and classroom buildings
  • Integrate and use technology to manage our irrigation systems: rain sensors, soil moisture sensors, smart controllers, central irrigation control systems, hand-held irrigation control devices, etc.

Natomas Unified is doing its part to conserve California’s water and will continue to look for ways to use less and save more while ensuring student safety and protecting the investment taxpayers have made in District classrooms and campuses.