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Home > Uncategorized > How to Plan for Reducing Water Consumption

How to Plan for Reducing Water Consumption

October 28th, 2010

For those in charge of building correctional facilities, you understand the looming budgetary crisis that is at the forefront of every decision made within the facility. There is no doubt that by implementing environmentally friendly practices and technologies within the building design future operational costs will decrease and operators will be able to run their facilities within budget and be able to invest in security and rehabilitative measures.

But making a correctional facility more environmentally friendly is a challenging task when taking into account security, regulatory restrictions and the 24-hour occupancy levels and usage needs. One specific problem is water consumption. From showers, laundry, kitchens and landscaping, large amounts of water are consumed within prison facilities. According to Supply Link, the R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego, Calif., housing 4,000 inmates and 1,300 support staff, uses over 290 million gallons of water per year. The cost: $1,900,000. Here are some tips on how to minimize consumption.

Go Tech

By implementing PC-based water systems, security is able to control individual or group plumbing fixtures in a cell or cells, group showers or individual showers to reduce and manage water usage. Also, using treated, recovered water gathered from rain and air handler condensation for toilet flushing will reduce the consumption of potable water. Due to Calif. Governor’s Arnold Schwarzenegger’s state of emergency declaration on water shortage in 2009, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) implemented flush meters in many of the institutions across the state. The buildings that used them saw an average savings of 27 percent annually.

Improve Fixtures

North Carolina’s Butner Federal Prison, the first LEED-certified correctional institution in the United States, uses low-flow plumbing fixtures, like toilets, urinals and shower heads, to save on water consumption. San Mateo County in California has reduced their water consumption by as much as 20 percent by installing these efficient plumbing fixtures.

“Green” the Landscaping

If the facility is located in a hot, dry climate, reduce outdoor watering by planting drought-tolerant native plants. Construct the recreation field out of synthetic grass and/or recycled tires. Harvest water by using a rain barrel, which collects and stores rain water runoff from roofs or gutters in order to water outside greenery. Or insert a swale like The Women’s Garden Project created for Evergreen Corrections Center in British Columbia, Canada. Swales are shallow, low depressions in the ground, lined with trees. They collect stormwater, infiltrating the surrounding soil and cleansing the water as it becomes absorbed.

To learn more about these water-saving methods, view an article by
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mwentworth Uncategorized

  1. Pray4Peace
    November 1st, 2010 at 12:40 | #1

    The article says, “large amounts of water are consumed within prison facilities.” Well, prison facilities house a large number of people. In fact, in California, they are over double capacity. People need showers when they are so tightly packed.

    Reform criminal justice, sentencing, and the prisons. Try alternatives to locking so many up. No brainer. Of course, it is hard to get reforms through when politicians are yelling, “tough on crime”. Let’s start being wise on crime.

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