UH-Manoa to install
water-saving devices

The University of Hawaii at Manoa hopes to reduce its water consumption by 10 percent by switching to low-flow faucets and toilets, targeting leaks and improving landscape watering practices, officials said yesterday.

University of Hawaii At 1 million gallons a day, the campus is one of Oahu's largest water users and it wanted to take a leadership role in water conservation, President Evan Dobelle and Chancellor Peter Englert said.

The Honolulu Board of Water Supply will bear the cost of replacing older plumbing fixtures with more efficient ones, which could save the university $150,000 on its annual water bill, said Barry Usagawa, the board's water resource principal executive. Officials won't know the cost of replacing the older fixtures until it's determined how many will be replaced.

If the UH trims its water use by 37 million gallons a year, that water will be freed up for other users, Usagawa said. Getting that amount of water from new sources would cost the board about $600,000, he said.

The UH announcement comes just days after the Honolulu Board of Water Supply asked that customers limit landscape watering to Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays before 6 a.m. and after 10 p.m.

Oahu's water use has hit record levels this summer and combined with dry weather has reduced available water supplies, prompting the request for voluntary restrictions. If island-wide water usage doesn't drop 10 percent in August, the restrictions may be made mandatory.

The campus adjusted the timing of its watering to match the water board's schedule this week, Englert said.

However, retrofitting plumbing on campus to make a long-term difference may take up to a year. A "water audit" will be performed this fall by students trained and assisted by water board staff.

The partnership "makes good sense for the environment and good sense for our budget," Englert said.

One innovative idea that has been proposed is capturing water from a spring on the Lower Campus and using it to water soccer fields and a park area.

Architecture and engineering students will work on preliminary designs to accomplish this, said Clifford Jamile, BWS manager.

University of Hawaii
Board of Water Supply


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