By Genaro Pamatz

Governor Brown declared a State of Emergency on Jan. 17, 2015, and directed all officials to take any necessary actions to immediately raise water availability. That was almost nine months ago, and the state is still struggling.  

“From big to little, it all matters,” said Janet Durgin, the Sonoma Academy Head of School. According to reports from faculty and students, SA has made big improvements that can make a significant contribution in fighting the severe drought affecting our state.

Let’s start with the new Chris Ziemer Field. The estimates of the amount of water that will be saved are quite amazing; over 2 million gallons per year. That’s the biggest amount of water the school is saving in one haul. But all the little things happening around campus are helping a lot as well.  

The school has put in, as you might have seen, a water dispenser for refilling water bottles. This new dispenser saves over 10,000 plastic water bottles from being used. These bottles could potentially harm fish, birds and other animals that might ingest them. Plastic water bottles can also impact the air and water by releasing toxic chemicals both during production and after being discarded. In addition, had disposable bottles been used instead, much of the water would likely have gone to waste.  

The school is also cutting back on watering plant life around campus. The trees, shrubs and grass around the school might look sad and dry, but these are decisions that Durgin feels are extremely necessary.

Facility Manager, Mike Raudenbush, is also on top of this issue. He is in charge of the water system that runs through the school. He checks for leaks and any other problems, to minimize water waste.

The school intends to continue looking for new ways to increase its water conservation. “The faculty is working on putting together a ‘Task Force,’” said Ellie Dwight, Assistant Head of School. In addition to addressing water conservation, the Task Force will also seek ways to reduce energy use and increase recycling, according to Dwight. New initiatives are constantly being proposed, and SA asks for participation of all students in saving the most amount of water it possibly can.