Water recycling technologies maintain drought-friendly landscaping at CBU

At California Baptist University water can be found almost anywhere and everywhere, and despite a long drought, CBU’s grounds remain green and hydrated.

The university receives its water primarily from one of two wells on campus. Only one of these wells runs actively, located just past the baseball and soccer fields.

“CBU strives to use the most modern technology in the industry to save water whenever possible,” said Ed Schmachtenberger, manager of landscaping and grounds at CBU. “CBU does this not only in times of drought, but as a standard in our landscape and irrigation.”

This dedication to eco-friendly botany comes partly from the plants chosen on campus. The grounds team specifically picks low-maintenance, drought-friendly plants to decorate the university.

Water flowing from the well that is used for landscaping on campus is considered non-potable, meaning the water is not recommended for drinking, showering or any other kind of human activity.

“We have to get the plant material that will do well with this type of water,” Schmachtenberger said.

The wells collect water from an underground irrigation system, including a water retention basin at the front of campus.

Rain and storm water collects in this basin, where it trickles into the ground to be used for plant hydration. The potable — meaning drinkable or usable — water on campus comes from public utility through Riverside. One way the city gathers its water comes from water recycling, an alternative to CBU’s well water.

John von Pertz, assistant director of maintenance and operations at Facilities and Planning Services, advocates well water for CBU’s grounds, when compared with implementing reclaimed water.

“There’s pros and cons to both,” von Pertz said. “We’d need two systems and a building. We don’t have that right now.”

Regardless of the water’s origin, it plays a vital role in keeping the CBU campus beautiful and green in a time when water conservation is crucial.

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