See the complete fall 2012 issue of 360 Magazine
The nonprofit Friends of Balboa Park is developing a program to optimize water use in the park by 2020. That means not only reducing water consumption, but also minimizing the impacts of water use on other natural resources in Balboa Park, such as air, energy and soil.
The Friends have assembled a team of regional experts, including SDSU faculty and staff, into a waterwise “community of practice” to bring the plan to fruition.
“Our collaborative intends to make the park a world center for water and related energy efficiency,” said Alan Sweedler, Ph.D., SDSU’s environmental sciences program director. “With the university’s contributions of technical expertise and student support, the park becomes a living laboratory for us.”
SDSU’s efforts are coordinated by Stanley Maloy, Ph.D., dean of the College of Sciences, who values the project as an opportunity for students to apply what they learn in the classroom to real problems in the community.
As the waterwise program gets under way, SDSU students guided by Matt Rahn, Ph.D., academic advisor for the environmental sciences program, are using GIS technology to map the underground mains and valves that support Balboa Park’s water infrastructure.
At the same time, Vinod Sasidharan, Ph.D., a professor and expert in sustainable tourism, will supervise students in helping the Friends develop a Center for H2O Experience. Visitors to the center will learn how to use water more wisely in their homes and communities.
“SDSU is channeling valuable expertise into the maintenance and enhancement of the park,” said Laurie Broedling, the Friends’ program manager and organizer of the waterwise collaborative. “Their involvement has made a big difference in our ability to move forward very quickly.”
Just in time for Balboa Park’s centennial celebration of the 1915 Exposition, SDSU faculty and students have embarked on an ambitious project to help achieve environmental sustainability for the San Diego landmark.