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Marina Seagate HOA repurposes streams and ponds into low-water use gardens
John Piersol, Marina Seagate Homeowners Association (HOA) Board President, led the HOA in San Leandro to reduce 70% of its annual water consumption by repurposing the HOA’s streams, fountains and ponds into low-water use gardens.
John describes himself as an inquisitive person, and when he took over as the HOA Board President, he looked at the water and energy bills and found things just didn’t look right. “I grew up near a golf course and I worked on a golf course for two years, and so I was curious about how things worked. As I looked into the water and electric bills I realized that something was wrong.”
A friend recommended to John that he contact David Langridge, EBMUD Water Conservation Representative, to conduct a water audit at the HOA. From John’s perspective, David made a number of good recommendations to help the HOA save water, including repurposing the ponds into low-water use gardens. At Dave’s suggestion, the HOA installed a sub-meter on one of the ponds, and John found it leaked 3000 gallons per week.
The ponds not only used a lot of water, they also used a lot of chemicals to suppress algae growth, and energy to circulate the water. In 2015, the HOA got busy and started the renovation process. Working with Dennis Solis of Northern Landscape Management Inc., they turned six ponds into low-water-use gardens. They plan to convert the remaining seven within a year.
John says, “Work with EBMUD and people who are interested in making a change. Also, do your homework before you present to your HOA.”
Bishop O'Dowd High School shows us how to conserve.
EBMUD awarded East Oakland Bishop O’Dowd High School the WaterSmart Business Certification Award for outstanding water conservation. The high value the school places on sustainability spurred O’Dowd to reduce their water use by 35 percent, saving an estimated 2.6 million gallons each year.
“Environmental sustainability is articulated in our Catholic practice as ‘Kinship with Creation,’ and is a core value at Bishop O'Dowd High School.” says Sustainability Programs Coordinator and Educator Dru Marion. “With strong administrative support, guidance from former Sustainability Director Andra Yeghoian, and management assistance from Facilities Director Dan Malmgren, we've taken many measures to reduce our water use and protect water quality in our watershed. All of O'Dowd's maintenance, facilities, and landscaping staff have been essential to the success and continued functioning of these upgrades”.
The school achieved these water savings through simple changes such as replacing inefficient toilets, urinals and faucets with newer, more efficient fixtures. EBMUD provided O’Dowd a rebate in 2011 to install four waterless urinals, 122 faucet aerators, five new showerheads and one pre-rinse dishwashing spray valve.
Outdoors, the school removed the sports field, planted low-water use plants, and installed drip irrigation and a rain catchment system to help divert water to their plants. “Many of the water conservation features are a teaching tool for students from classes in social studies, religion, science, math and more,” says Marion.
EBMUD is proud to present the WaterSmart Business Certification Award to Bishop O’Dowd High School for their outstanding efforts in water conservation. O’Dowd has also received Alameda County Green Business certification, Green Ribbon School status and the Acterra Business Environmental Award.
“Environmental sustainability is articulated in our Catholic practice as ‘Kinship with Creation,’ and is a core value at Bishop O'Dowd High School.”
FH One knows history.
Owners of historic buildings, like the folks at FH One who own a 109-year old building in the heart of downtown Oakland, face the challenge of upgrading their buildings to conserve water while maintaining the building’s historic feel and charm.
For FH One’s Vice President, Mr. Daria Hosseinyoun, retrofitting the Old Oakland Bank building, built in 1909 at 1212 Broadway, was driven by a commitment to sustainability. With recurring dry years and droughts, Daria saw that by retrofitting the building with new water-efficient fixtures he was satisfying the desire of building occupants who felt green upgrades were important to their business model. FH One installed 36 new toilets and 45 new sink aerators, plus a new cooling tower. Their water use dropped by more than 50 percent.
Daria contacted EBMUD in 2016 to discuss water efficiency upgrades for his building. As he put it, “As a building owner, it is our responsibility to commit to sustainability as well as drought relief efforts. With the help of EBMUD, we were successfully able to cut down on thousands of gallons of water waste every year. To be part of such a tremendous impact has been a rewarding experience.” In 2016, EBMUD awarded FH One the WaterSmart Business Certification for outstanding water efficiency.
After FH One implemented the water efficient retrofits, their water use dropped from about 5,000 gallons a day to about 2,000 gallons per day. Annually, FH One’s water savings are close to 1 million gallons.
FH One’s efforts are a great example that water efficiency makes a good business model.
“We were successfully able to cut down on thousands of gallons of water waste every year. To be part of such a tremendous impact has been a rewarding experience.”