My name is Nataly and I am the team coordinator for the fairly new Water Action & Drought Response (WADR) team. We've had a busy time this summer and fall working to conserve water use on our campus, and with the holiday that just passed and more on the way, I've been thinking about water use for not just myself but for my family and friends as well.
I'm a softball player. I started T ball at the age of 5 and was forced into softball as a third grader (I never liked all the cheers the girls did). After playing sports all my life until my graduation of high school, I had to take a break. After a few years of resting, changing hobbies, and losing strength, I started to feel the pull to get back into the sport I knew so well: softball. There were a few changes for our UCSC intramural league: slow pitch, new rules. But the more exciting thing for me was that it was co-ed, so I could play with friends no matter their gender. After playing a few seasons with the same team (Sluggers), I had to be the person to announce a big let down to my friends. This Fall of 2014, one of the teammates emailed everyone, getting the spirit up and directing everyone to the new set up of registration with OPERS. Unfortunately they hadn't heard about the closure of the field and suspension of softball, so I had to reply letting everyone know and suggested that maybe a different sport could be played. It's a sad thing when fields are closed and when play is restricted, but I know from my position on the WADR team that it was a tough decision that had to be made for the safety of us players and for the future of the game.
Here's what I know:
- Starting Spring 2014, UC Santa Cruz was asked to make a 25% reduction of water usage by the City of Santa Cruz.
- The campus cutback watering of the East Field by 55%!
- During the summer, the Upper Field lost a good portion of its turf due to reduced irrigation.
-To repair the field properly, the field was closed to reduce the wear and tear on it.
- While the field looks green and safe, most of the newer growth are weeds, or varieties of grasses that are not well suited for sports.
- Water rationing will be lifted after Santa Cruz reaches 12 inches of rain.
- Once the rationing is lifted, the Office of Physical Education, Recreation, and Sports (OPERS) will work with campus grounds to repair the field.
So... Plans changed, well... plans change.
Just like life changes, which it did in one major way when I came to school here at UCSC. I learned, I grew, I learned some more, and I practiced. I still practice integrating what I learn into my everyday life, and I can say affirmatively that things have change since I've moved to Santa Cruz. The biggest shock is when I go back home or travel. It's interesting how things are different. Sometimes it's frustrating. For my hometown of Long Beach, I wish they and other cities like it would pick up the slack when it comes to being mindful about our natural resources. I come from a background where 45 minutes showers are "natural". Sure, I learned how to take the quickie when in special circumstances, but life was an indulgence of water (without consciousness) back then.
What city are you from?
This short article puts some things in perspective here in California, especially between the north and the south. Even more relevant to us individually, to you and to me, though, is our personal use. To calculate your water footprint, go here, and please take the pledge. We are already witnessing the effects of the drought. I feel like Mother Earth is calling us to action, but more than just a few need to respond. With a community consciousness of conservation we can significantly improve our environment and situation. This is an official call to action that I hope you accept and share.
If you have questions that I didn't answer about the field, you can contact:
Todd Hammonds (Associate Director of Facilities and Operations at OPERS)
(831) 459-4378 or tmhammon [at] ucsc [dot] edu
For more information on the WADR Team, click here.