Student Intern Nico Galindo’s Water Storage Project

September 02, 2017

Nico Galindo, Water Action Planning Intern in the Sustainability Office, provides details on the Arboretum’s new eco-friendly water storage system that he invented to help UCSC achieve the goals of its Campus Sustainability Plan.

What problem/issue did the project address? The most apparent problem that I saw was a misuse of natural resources. Potable water coming from the City of Santa Cruz is a very energy intensive commodity to purify and transport from the water treatment plant to the Arboretum. My goal was to reduce the amount of potable water coming from the city and use on-site rainwater to help supplement our water consumption.

When did the work start/end? The planning stages of this project date back to Spring Quarter 2016. The actual construction of the system began in Spring 2017, and currently the project is being fine-tuned, so technically I would not say that it has ended. It will also provide opportunities for innovative students to experiment with water use efficiency and off-grid water systems, so I don't know that it will ever be "finished" in a sense. I hope it can be used as a living lab. 

Water storage tanks
Water storage tanks

What exactly was done for this project?  We tapped into an existing storm drain from the Horticulture I and II building roofs and patio and re-routed the pipes 65 feet south to a set of storage tanks. These two tanks hold 4,900 gallons each. A year of average rainfall could yield 45,000 gallons or more. 

What was your role and were other UCSC people involved?
I was the project manager. I designed, acquired funding for, and constructed the system. One other student, Trevor Johnson, helped with the critical construction events, such as tank delivery and tapping into the mainline. I would also like to thank the countless student workers at the Arboretum for lending a hand whenever I needed one. 

The UCSC Sustainability Office (https://sustainability.ucsc.edu/index.html) actively engages students, staff, faculty, and community members through education, leadership development, institutional change, and behavioral transformation. As a campus resource, it provides information, tools, policy advice, and facilitation for key sustainability plans and policies focusing on these five goals:

* Institutionalize sustainability
Improve Environmental Performance/Manage the Campus Sustainability Plan;
* Create centralized communication, coordination,  outreach, and education;
* Reduce greenhouse gases and plan for climate action;
Integrate sustainability into the classroom.