The University of Georgia Costa Rica 2014-2015 Sustainability Report UGA Costa Rica 2014 - 2015 Sustainability Report - Page 19

UGA Costa Rica Water Consumed for Non-Agricultural Purposes 2000 1500 1000 5 Ma y1 3 No v. 13 Ja n. 14 Ma r. 14 Ma y1 4 Ju l. 1 4 Se p. 14 No v. 14 Ja n. 15 Ma r. 15 p. 1 3 Se l. 1 3 Ju y1 3 r. 1 Ma Ja Ma 0 13 500 n. Water Consumption (gallons) 2500 Precipitation spikes in water consumption. The first such spike is in April 2013, a month with only a total of 27.94 mm of precipitation. The second such spike begins in March 2014, a month with only a total of 6.604 mm of precipitation. Both of these spikes in consumption occurred during the dry season, when low volumes of rainfall forced UGA Costa Rica to use water from the aqueduct system to irrigate the farm, resulting in a large increase in water consumption. Consequently, the campus was only able to meet its water consumption goals for 8 months between May 2013 and May 2015. Studies performed on campus revealed a negative correlation between rainfall and water consumption. As rainfall decreased, water consumption increased. It is believed that El Niño weather patterns are responsible for the lack of rainfall and climate change models Water consumed (m3) Goal project increased frequency of El Niño events. Maintaining farm activities during the dry season represents a major challenge moving forward for the campus. In light of the region’s dependence on water to carry out agriculture, new systems of water storage and usage may need to be employed. Methods of achieving this include more efficient irrigation techniques, capturing and storing water, planting more drought tolerant crops, and using special soil tilling practices. Equally important to how the campus consumes water is how it handles waste water, which is where the two biodigesters on campus come into play. The larger biodigester processes wastewater in approximately 8 days, and the smaller one processes wastewater in approximately 23 days. There are significant benefits to using a biodigester in lieu of other wastewater systems. The The UGACR campus was able to meet its water consumption goals for a total of 8 months between May 2013 and May 2015. biodigester, which has extremely little maintenance needs, does not create leakage problems. In addition to producing no odors, the quality of the outgoing water far surpasses that of Costa Rican standards, measuring 99% free of contaminants. Because the system is located down slope of campus facilities, the biodigester requires no energy inputs to move wastewater. Methane, which is lighter than the surrounding air, is able to naturally rise and satisfy some of the kitchen’s energy needs. More information on the biodigester serving energy needs can be found on page 36. UGACR has assisted in the completion of 14 biodigesters in the San Luis community, undoubtedly contributing to an increase in water quality in the surrounding area. 2014 – 2015 Sustainability Report 19