Sacramento, California - The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) has saved more than 2.4 million gallons of water from March through May 2014 compared to last year at the same time as part of its effort to conserve water during California’s drought.
According to data released by the Pension Fund, the amount of water saved would fill 122 residential swimming pools that typically average 20,000 gallons.
CalPERS is now in the design phase to recapture and reuse the water from its air conditioning system to irrigate its landscape.
"Our grass is as golden as the Golden State because we are doing our part to conserve water,” said Anne Stausboll, Chief Executive Officer for CalPERS. “We have reduced our water consumption by about 30 percent on average per month and we hope to gain greater efficiencies over time."
CalPERS water saving measures include:
- Discontinuing lawn watering, operation of all fountains, window and pressure washing, and carpet cleaning
- Installation of drip irrigation to water trees and shrubs
- Installation of low-flow plumbing fixtures for sinks and restrooms
- Installation of low-flow shower heads in its fitness center
- Capturing excess ice from the cafeteria for landscape irrigation
CalPERS used 7.6 million gallons of water in its daily operations from March to May in 2013 and has dropped its usage to 5.2 million gallons during the same time period this year. Approximately 33 percent of its water is used in restrooms, lunch rooms, landscaping, and its cafeteria while the majority – 67 percent – is used for air conditioning.
"About 70 percent of our campus water is consumed by our air conditioning system on a 100 degree day," said Stausboll. "We are hoping to capture and reuse that water in the near future."
CalPERS is also "turf scraping" its campus - a method that scrapes dead lawn to the soil to prevent fire hazards.
CalPERS is the largest public pension fund in the U.S., with more than $296 billion in assets. CalPERS administers health and retirement benefits on behalf of 3,064 public school, local agency, and state employers. There are more than 1.6 million members in the CalPERS retirement system and more than 1.3 million members in its health plans. For more information about CalPERS, visit www.CalPERS.ca.gov.