cuestaCuesta College is making significant changes to its landscaping and facilities in response to California Governor Jerry Brown’s recent mandate to reduce water usage by 25 percent of the college’s 2013 calendar-year water usage.

Both the San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles campuses are undergoing various landscaping changes that will save between 4.99 and 6.52 million gallons of water annually. “All landscaping will be impacted in some way,” said Cuesta College Director of Facilities Services Planning and Capitol Projects Terry Reece. “For some areas, it will be as little as putting the vegetation into a stressed mode; in other areas, it will be a full removal and re-landscaping with either low or no water landscaping.”

Currently, many of the affected landscaped areas are turning brown due to the reduced use water. The District will begin replacing some areas with wood bark; other areas will have drought–resistant plants installed. Nearly all of the athletic complexes will be affected. The landscaping projects are expected to be complete in the coming weeks.

“The campus will look different and yet maintain its current complex landscaping motif,” said Reece. “We expect that someone coming to Cuesta College will not feel like the two campuses are in a drought situation; instead, it will just appear that the campuses have been landscaped with plants other than grass.”

Additionally, a total of 120 toilets and 34 urinals are being replaced by the end of June on both campuses with low-flow versions, saving the District 2.25 gallons per flush. An air cooled chiller was also recently installed on the North County Campus, dramatically reducing the usage of a larger water cooled chiller.

The reductions will not save the District any funds. As a part of the California State Water Project, the District pays an annual set fee for its water allowance. “There are no refunds for water savings nor is there a way to buy more water if we exceed our allowance,” explained Reece. “The District is saving water in order to be a responsible State organization and also comply with the recent reduction mandate.”

For more information, please call the Cuesta College Facilities Department at (805) 546-3100, ext. 2210.