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Marine Corps Air Station Miramar

MCAS Miramar takes steps to reduce water use

By Lance Cpl. Christopher Johns | Marine Corps Air Station Miramar | May 09, 2014

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Water drips off of a freshly watered plant outside the Marine Mart aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., May 9. As California experiences a drought, MCAS Miramar works to cut back on water consumption to aid the city of San Diego, as well as the rest of the state to conserve this precious resource.

Water drips off of a freshly watered plant outside the Marine Mart aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., May 9. As California experiences a drought, MCAS Miramar works to cut back on water consumption to aid the city of San Diego, as well as the rest of the state to conserve this precious resource. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Christopher Johns)


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Signs posted aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., educate passersby about what is happening with the water the installation uses, May 9. The installation makes use of more than one billion gallons of reclaimed water.

Signs posted aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., educate passersby about what is happening with the water the installation uses, May 9. The installation makes use of more than one billion gallons of reclaimed water. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Christopher Johns)


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A Marine turns off the faucet while preparing for work aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., May 9. Marines, Sailors, families and civilians working and living aboard the air station take part in fighting the drought in California by cutting their water usage wherever they can.

A Marine turns off the faucet while preparing for work aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., May 9. Marines, Sailors, families and civilians working and living aboard the air station take part in fighting the drought in California by cutting their water usage wherever they can. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Christopher Johns)


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MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. -- Leadership aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., has followed suit in redoubling efforts to conserve water aboard the air station after California went into a drought state of emergency.

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. issued an executive order to strengthen water management and called for all Californians to do their part as the state prepares for the driest months of the year.

Brown explained in a proclamation posted in January that California’s water supplies continue to be severely depleted in light of limited amounts of rain and snowfall since January. Limited snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, decreased water levels in California’s reservoirs and reduced flows in the state’s rivers have all contributed to the drought.

“The magnitude of the severe drought conditions continues to present threats beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment and facilities of any single local government and require the combined forces of a mutual aid region or regions to combat,” said Brown. “I find that conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property continue to exist in California due to water shortage and drought conditions with which local authority is unable to cope.”

Kevin Faulconer, San Diego’s mayor, recommended the city be put on a drought watch and initiated a Drought Response Level 1, meaning the city will increase public awareness and outreach concerning implementing water conservation. He also asked that San Diegans take voluntary steps to reduce water demands.

MCAS Miramar purchases its water supply from San Diego, meaning the installation must play a part in helping ease the strain brought on by the drought. The air station implemented better technology to cut back on water usage in efforts to help the San Diego community.

“We have installed low-flow faucets, toilets and urinals throughout the installation to help conserve more water,” said Megan Blucher, engineering branch manager with Installation and Logistics for MCAS Miramar. “The base has also converted a large portion of our irrigation systems into ones that use reclaimed water. This was the biggest overall reduction in water usage and the system uses smart technology to turn off when it rains and closes off branches of itself when there are leaks in pipes or faucet heads.”

The irrigation system uses reclaimed water and something called “Calsense,” a monitoring system that measures daily precipitation levels. Based off those levels, the system then decides if it needs to water the plants or not. If it rains, there’s no need to waste precious water on already nourished plants. According to Mick Wasco, MCAS Miramar’s energy program manager, almost every watering system the installation uses runs on Calsense.

Wasco also explained that every gallon of water the air station reclaims is a gallon of potable water that can be put to use elsewhere. The air station uses more than one billion gallons of reclaimed water a year, meaning that if it hadn’t been reclaiming its water then the installation would have used that much clean, drinkable water without hopes of reuse.

Similar to the state leadership’s efforts to educate citizens, the air station’s leadership continues to teach techniques on how to use less water in order to help the community and state.

Blucher recommends taking shorter showers; reporting leaks, running toilets or dripping faucets to the maintenance department; sweeping sidewalks instead of hosing them off; reducing car washing to a minimum or going to a facility that recycles water; and only running washers and dishwashers when they are full.

With these helpful hints and everyone doing their part, worrying about water usage could be a thing of the past. Saving one of California’s most precious resources will take time, and it might seem like what an individual does to help is only a drop in the bucket, but today – every drop counts.

For more information and helpful hints on how to make a splash saving water, visit http://www.miramar.marines.mil/Resources/ConservationAwareness.aspx, and to make a pledge to save water with the rest of the nation, visit http://www.mywaterpledge.com.
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