In the summer of 2007, a group of students and faculty from the Claremont Colleges did a sustainability audit on the schools, examining our use of electricity, natural gas, and water.

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What they found was that we were using twice as much water as what is sustainable.

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58% of the water we use as a college community goes on the foliage, most of it lawn or turf.

42% of water is used within the buildings, eventually making its way into our sewer system as greywater or blackwater.

This opens up two major avenues for moving toward more sustainable use of water. One is the revision of our landscaping to include more native, drought-tolerant plants. The other, more ambitious plan, involves developing a purple pipe system to recycle the colleges’ greywater to satisfy our landscaping needs.

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Richard Haskell, Harvey Mudd professor and chair of Sustainable Claremont, estimates we could satisfy 72% of irrigation needs with reclaimed waste water.

The 5C reclamation system would reduce about 4% the amount of water the whole Claremont community uses and itself serve as a model for the greater community.

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