CSULB to Convert Two Acres of Lawns Into Drought-Tolerant Landscapes

California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) has announced that as part of the University’s Water Action Plan, selected lawn areas on campus will be converted into drought tolerant landscapes in an effort to transform the campus into a model for sustainable landscaping.

“At The Beach, we are committed to being a leader in the area of sustainability. This landscape project is the latest example of our ongoing efforts to preserve the environment,” said President Jane Close Conoley in a statement. “The project will immediately benefit the university by conserving water in compliance with recent drought legislation and will contribute greatly to our long-term sustainability. I ask that our community be patient as we transition from brown grass to beautiful, drought-resistant grounds.”

According to the announcement, the lawn conversion initiative is the most recent water conservation effort on campus. Other recently completed projects include the installation of low flow urinals, faucet aerators, high efficiency toilets, and low flow shower heads in the residence halls throughout campus that will save over six million gallons of water per year.

CSULB’s Water Action Plan includes auditing campus water use and implementing projects with immediate impact, discovering uses for reclaimed water in place of potable water, communicating the importance of water conservation campus and city-wide through a public awareness campaign, collaborating with faculty and students on water-related courses, continuing to work closely with the Long Beach Water Department and lastly, planning future campus development for water resiliency.

The lawn conversion project’s first phase is slated to begin this month, in April, and to be completed by August 2015. The beginning stages will include shutting off irrigation in the decided areas, browning, then removing each lawn to install drought tolerant plantings, ground cover and hardscape. 90,000 square feet, or about two acres, of lawn area will be converted.

According to CSULB, every year the University consumes about 200 million gallons of water, while the lawn conversion project is projected to save 3.5 million gallons of water and about $15,000 in associated water costs annually. More than 50 percent of the water is used for campus landscape and athletic fields.

Funding assistance from the CSU Chancellor’s Office and water rebates from Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s Water Smart program and the Long Beach Water Department will enable CSULB to realize the aforementioned water savings without delay.

Click here to view a map of the scheduled lawn conversion.

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