Last year Silicon Valley reduced its water use by 26% from the 2013 baseline, saving nearly 40 billion gallons of water – enough to fill 58,000 Olympic-size swimming pools. The Silicon Valley Water Conservation Awards highlight government agencies, businesses, organizations and individuals that have gone above and beyond the call of duty to save our most precious natural resource – water.
The winners of this awards program will be acknowledged at an awards ceremony hosted by Google on March 23. It will be preceded by a vegetarian food expo, and followed by a tasting of beer made from advance-treated recycled water hosted by the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company. Gachina Landscape will have a table at the vegetarian food expo featuring fresh fruits and vegetables from our organic demonstration garden, aka The Farm. Feel free to stop by!
The SLAC campus consists of many thousands of square feet of irrigated lawns. When Gachina began to manage the site, and teaming up with SLAC’s facilities and sustainability department (Carlos Pereira and Rohendra Atapattu), many of these water-loving turf areas were identified as ideal locations to utilize a new program called Lawn-Be-Gone!
This program provides rebates for sites that wish to convert their lawns to drought tolerant, California native-rich landscapes using the latest drip irrigation technology. The application process, the design process, and the projections for potential water savings fell on the shoulders of the Gachina team to coordinate and facilitate every piece of this installation from start to finish. Every detail from compost and mulch type, to plant varieties, to drip irrigation design, needed to be carefully thought out for this new landscape to be successful, with the ultimate goal of saving the most precious resource on this planet, Water.
With support from the City of Menlo Park’s water conservation team BAWSCA, the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency, Gachina Landscape accomplished the two turf conversion projects by removing over 20,000 square feet of turf, sheet mulching, and a installing locally sourced mulch application, drought resistant landscaping and drip irrigation. The end result – a modern, sleek, low maintenance and low water-use landscape, which is appropriate and sustainable for years to come.
In addition, SLAC practices capturing and reusing water whenever possible. Rainwater is collected around electrical equipment, storage tanks and others structures, and then processed through a non-hazardous water treatment unit and reused in cooling operations. Clean wastewater from construction projects and pipe testing also is being collected and filtered for use in cooling towers or for landscape irrigation.
As a result of their actions, SLAC has saved 15 million gallons of potable water over the past two years despite an 11% increase in electricity usage and related cooling demands. Indoor water use was reduced by 23% and potable irrigation water by 80%.
Contacts: Rohendra Atapattu (SLAC), (650) 926-6247; Chad Sutton (Gachina), (650) 924-3059
About the Water Conservation Awards Coalition
The Coalition coordinating the Silicon Valley Water Conservation Awards includes: Acterra, Bay Area Water Supply & Conservation Agency, City of Palo Alto Utilities, GreenTown Los Altos, Joint Venture Silicon Valley, Santa Clara Valley Water District, Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Sustainable San Mateo County, Sustainable Silicon Valley and Tuolumne River Trust.
Silicon Valley is defined as San Mateo County, Santa Clara County and Alameda County from Hayward south. The awards program was established in 2009.