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Westmont Student Dorms Battle in Water-Saving Wars

A friendly competition among Westmont College residence halls has resulted in the savings of more than 228,000 gallons of water since students returned from spring break March 17.

The Westmont Campus Life and Student Life offices will announce the winning residence hall of Every Drop Counts this Friday, and a celebration party will be held Monday at 8:30 p.m. at the winning location.

Westmont installed new shower timers in each stall and hung water conservation tips around bathrooms to educate students. A monitor in the Dining Commons has kept a running total of the amount of water saved and the leading residence hall.

Armington Hall, which is in the lead, has cut its water consumption by more than a third. Page Hall is a few percentage points behind.

The Montecito Water District declared a water shortage emergency, directing all customers to decrease water usage immediately by 30 percent. Westmont is taking steps to exceed the 30 percent reduction. Last year, the college voluntarily consumed 20 percent or 6,800 hundred cubic feet (HCF) less than its allotment. Conservation efforts will help Westmont nearly double this amount and decrease consumption by 12,000 HCF below the reduced allotment for 2014.

To achieve this goal, Westmont is irrigating only with non-potable water (not from MWD) and is significantly reducing the amount of watering on campus.

Westmont began cutting back its water consumption years ago by installing low-flow shower heads and toilets, using drip irrigation and planting drought-tolerant vegetation. From 2003 to 2013, the college’s annual water usage dropped nearly 17,000 HCF or 31 percent.

— Scott Craig is the media relations manager for Westmont College.

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