UOP questioned on its water use during serious drought

STOCKTON, Calif. - A Stockton woman whose son attended and graduated from the University of the Pacific, asked News10 to look into the school's water use, considering how green and lush the campus looks.

She's let her front yard turn brown while trying to save water.

"I just drove by and thought, wow, what a beautiful lawn. I do laundry once a week and use my dog's water in the house to water plants in the house," Kathy said. She didn't provide a last name.

At UOP, Support Services Director Scott Heaton offered several examples of the university using less water than in years past.

"We invested a lot of money in irrigation several years ago. We bought and installed a computerized system to replace 50 clocks all over campus, and thousands of sprinkler heads were replaced with more efficient heads," Heaton said. "By knowing the factors of weather, the computer decides exactly how much water to use. Rather than just operate 30 minutes each station, it will cut back to 20 minutes a station."

UOP's appearance is clearly a major attraction for students. It's often described as looking like an Ivy League school, with its red brick buildings and beautiful landscaping.

Heaton also said the school is replacing small lawn segments with grass and plants that require far less water. He added the campus has increased by 30 percent the non-potable water it pulls from the nearby Calaveras River, rather than relying on treated water.


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