The University of the South's Athletic Water Usage: An Independent Research Project About Exposition, Proposal, and Application of Better Resource Management on Campus

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Epps, Mary Beth
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University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee , Department of Biology, University of the South , Athletics Department, University of the South , Water usage , Resource management
After reviewing the utility bills of campus, I questioned how environmentally and economically conscious Sewanee’s athletic facility—The Fowler Center—was of their water use. In 2007, Fowler used 1,731,000 gallons during the fall and spring semesters intended for public and athlete use —which is 1.5% of the total water usage on campus. Each of the 13 sports’ practice and home game schedules were used to calculate their individual water use, and found to be only a minimum amount of 17,113 in 2007 because the number of athletes that shower and use ice after practice varies too widely. The number of showerheads, sinks, and toilets were evaluated along with the cost and benefits of more efficient replacements. If .5 gpm aerators for each sink, high efficiency toilets, and 1.5 gmp showerheads were installed, a minimum of 695,145 gallons and $10,650 dollars would be made (and initial costs paid for) within 20 years. Three other types of actions would dramatically reduce water use and move Sewanee to becoming more sustainable: a) grey water reuse, b) rainwater harvesting, and c) public education. Work study students, who refill and empty out water coolers and drain ice/heat baths, claim that nearly 5,000 gallons of water are wasted every year; yet, if more efficient water-reuse practices were implemented, the golf course, four fields, and the swimming pool could put less of a dent in the water and economic budget. The Fowler Center should also work to encourage personal, reusable water bottles, eliminate their use of Styrofoam cups, and encourage outdoor exercise to promote better material and energy use.