Water, as we all know, is essential to human life. Colorado Springs receives an average of 16" of precipitation each year. While we receive an average of 16" our annual precipitation ranges between 6"-27" (NOAA). With our cycle of water abundance and scarcity we are classified as a high desert. In our community our water is delivered and purified via a complex, energy-intensive system. At this time much of our water comes from the water resources of the Pikes Peak Region. However given increased population within the Colorado Springs area we can expect expanded reliance on sources such as the Southern Delivery System. In addition to this expansion of current water infrastructure, droughts, fire, salinization, reduced snowpack and other reasons, create issues relating to our water supply. Given changing environmental dynamics and risk of major droughts our water sources are increasingly unpredictable and future water supplies will be increasingly more expensive to deliver. Therefore, it is imperative that we manage this precious resource as wisely as possible.
To meet these demands our Sustainability Strategic Plan identifies the following objective with regard to water conservation: Institute water conservation practices and planning throughout the campus to reduce both domestic and outdoor water use, decrease utility costs, and model effective storm water management. The plan identifies a number of water conservation measures:
1) Decrease outdoor water use intensity on campus by 10%,
2) Decrease indoor water use in existing buildings by 10%, and
3) Develop a comprehensive stormwater plan that mitigates stormwater runoff and decreases impervious surfaces.
In pursuit of these targets, a portion of the $1.3 million Energy Performance Bond was applied to water savings retrofits. For new buildings, the university has continued to pursue a minimum of LEED Silver certification, which includes points for water efficiency. Designed water savings for the Recreation Center (2007) are 30% over a baseline building. Designed water savings for the Science Engineering Building (2009) are 42% over a baseline building. For more information on what we are doing to reduce water usage in our new buildings, as well as other high performance building features, go here.