RIGHT AS RAIN: ARMY RESERVE PILOTS RAINWATER HARVESTING FOR VEHICLE WASH

 

Ripples in Water

Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, “Into each life, some rain must fall.”

For the United States Army Reserve, the mission is life, and rain is an opportunity to be an agile, innovative force in the Department of Defense.

The Army Reserve Water Security Implementation Strategy guides the Command’s efforts to conserve mission-critical water assets. Goal Three of the strategy is “Utilize Alternative Water Sources,” or sustainable sources of water that reduce the demand for fresh surface water and groundwater.

One alternative water source is rainwater.

Rainwater harvesting can save the Army Reserve’s natural resources and bolster its water security for the future. To that end, the Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have implemented rainwater harvesting at vehicle wash facilities in the 63rd and 81st Regional Support Commands.

Susan Loper, an analyst with PNNL, said that rainwater harvesting for vehicle wash is a particularly viable initiative for the Army Reserve. “Vehicle wash is more common at Army Reserve sites, compared to other non-potable water applications such as irrigation,” she explained.

Over 460 Army Reserve Centers across the country have vehicle maintenance facilities.

To identify potential sites for rainwater harvesting, a team from the Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate and PNNL conducted a strategic geospatial study. The study examined factors such as rainfall, water use, water demand and watershed vulnerability, which indicates an area where the potable water supply is or will be threatened. About 42 percent of Army Reserve facilities are in “vulnerable” areas.

With the results of the study, the team identified over 300 facilities in the Southeast, Northeast and Midwest regions of the continental United States as suitable candidates for rainwater harvesting. Ultimately, they selected Grand Prairie Army Reserve Center in Grand Prairie, Texas and Harry Milton Kandel Army Reserve Center in Savannah, Georgia as pilot sites.

According to Loper, Grand Prairie Army Reserve Center and Harry Milton Kandel Army Reserve Center have relatively high demands for vehicle wash. Rainwater harvesting can fulfill most, if not all, of those demands. Equally significant, Grand Prairie and Savannah are in vulnerable watersheds due to numerous environmental, economic and social factors.

Rainwater harvesting will conserve valuable potable water resources for the Army Reserve. Potentially, the Grand Prairie site will supply 140,000 gallons of rainwater each year, and the Savannah site will supply 200,000 gallons of rainwater each year.

The projects will also support the Command’s efforts to reach federal water use reduction goals. As a federal entity, the Army Reserve must reduce its water use intensity by two percent annually – for a total reduction of 36 percent – by 2025, compared to a 2007 baseline. The Army Reserve has reduced water use intensity across the enterprise by 44 percent since 2007, far exceeding the goal.

Furthermore, rainwater harvesting will leverage partnerships between the Army Reserve and its stakeholders. Contractors installed the pilot systems at the sites in February and March 2017. On-site professionals will operate and maintain the systems. The Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate and PNNL will monitor the systems during their first years of operation.

Finally, and importantly, rainwater harvesting will enhance the Army Reserve’s mission readiness because it saves potable water for the enterprise’s most valuable resource – its Soldiers.

“Water is absolutely necessary for us to train,” said Trey Lewis, Army Reserve Water Program Coordinator. As a former Soldier, Lewis personally understands water’s vital role in the military’s battle rhythm. “We can train without internet access. We can train without electricity. For a limited time, we can even train without food. If we run out of water, we’re done, and we’re done right away. In a cantonment area, the toilets do not flush. The sinks do not flow. Everything shuts down. In a field environment, a water shortage can become a life or death situation, especially in hot summers when training is at its most intense. Rainwater harvesting helps us avert situations that would delay or stop training, get in front of the curve during natural disasters, and help us become – in the event of an emergency – an asset that can provide assistance and security instead of a liability that needs assistance.”

Lewis visited the Savannah site, and his impressions were favorable. He said that, so far, the personnel at the Army Reserve Center’s vehicle wash facility are pleased with the rainwater harvesting system’s performance. “Overall, [the project] seems promising,” he remarked.

The Army Reserve depends on water to sustain its warfighters, maintain its facilities and accomplish its missions. As the Command strives to protect its resources, the Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate and PNNL are driving advanced solutions to water security. Cutting-edge technologies such as rainwater harvesting will protect precious natural assets, support Soldiers and fully enable the defense the nation – now and in the future.

ARTICLE CONTRIBUTORS

Jonelle Kimbrough, Army Reserve Sustainability Programs
Trey Lewis, Army Reserve Sustainability Programs
Susan Loper, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Kate McMordie Stoughton, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

 

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63RD REGIONAL SUPPORT COMMAND RECEIVES SECRETARY OF THE ARMY AWARD

The U.S. Army Reserve’s 63rd Regional Support Command (RSC) recently received the Secretary of the Army Energy and Water Management Award for Energy Efficiency and Energy Management, Small Group.

The award celebrated a variety of innovative sustainability initiatives that saved energy, water and fiscal resources throughout the 63rd RSC, which includes the states of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. In fiscal year 2015, conservation efforts saved 31.3 million British Thermal Units of energy, and they reduced water consumption by 38 percent when compared to fiscal year 2014. As a result, the 63rd RSC saved $583,503.

To decrease energy use, the 63rd RSC leveraged meters, renewable technologies and energy efficiency improvements. The Army Meter Data Management System monitored energy use at 74 facilities across the region. Solar arrays at March Armed Forces Reserve Center in California and Barnes Hall Army Reserve Center in Arizona produced 293,000 kilowatt hours of power in fiscal year 2015, and an award-winning lighting project in parking areas at Camp Pike, Arkansas reduced energy consumption by 85 percent at that site.

The 63rd RSC implemented various water conservation efforts as well. Improvements to plumbing increased water efficiency at multiple facilities, and drought tolerant, native plant landscapes – known as xeriscapes – reduced the need for irrigation at multiple Army Reserve sites in southern California.

Furthermore, the 63rd RSC Energy Team continued to educate its communities about conservation and its commitment to sustainability.

The Secretary of the Army Energy and Water Management Awards were presented at a special ceremony at the Federal government’s annual Energy Exchange in Providence, Rhode Island on August 11. Colonel Stewart Fearon, the 63rd RSC’s Director of Public Works, attended the event with Deputy Director of Public Works Mr. Keith Puschinsky; Operations Division Chief Mr. Mark Cutler; Energy Managers Mr. Rickey Johns, Mr. Hays Kinslow and Mr. Gerry McClelland; and Resource Efficiency Managers Mr. Brad Brown and Mr. Varun Sood.

The Honorable Katherine Hammack, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and the Environment, hosted the ceremony and offered her gratitude to the honorees. “The Army is setting the standard for resource conservation – not only in the Department of Defense but in the Federal government,” Hammack said.

Lieutenant General Gwen Bingham, Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management, also addressed the attendants and encouraged them to further their efforts. “What do you do when you achieve one goal?” she asked. “You set a new one.”

Johns said that the 63rd RSC’s accomplishments are truly the results of a dedicated team, and Command support has driven their success. “We’ve all heard that ‘it takes a village to raise a child,’” he commented. “It takes a Command to build a viable energy program. At the 63rd RSC, we have a Command that supports our energy program.” He pointed to the strong presence of leadership at the ceremony as evidence of that support.

Johns and Kinslow also praised the Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate (ARIMD) for its steadfast encouragement of their program and its assistance with the award nomination. “With the help of the ARIMD Energy Team, the hard work of the 63rd RSC Energy Team and the great support of the 63rd RSC’s public works staff was recognized today,” Kinslow remarked.

“I feel extremely fortunate to be a part of this team,” Johns added. “I look forward to many more years with all of the Army Reserve family.”

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE 63RD REGIONAL SUPPORT COMMAND

TO PROTECT WATER QUALITY, EVERY DROP COUNTS

Water Drop for Blog

Water is essential for all life, but the quality of our water is equally essential for the health of our Earth and all its inhabitants.

Water quality describes the condition of water – mostly in regards to its suitability for a need or a purpose, such as consumption or recreation.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, over 40 percent of American waterways suffer water quality issues, largely due to pollution of some persuasion.

If our water is polluted, we cannot drink it. We cannot fish from it. We cannot swim in it. To do so would create serious public health concerns. Quite simply, water pollution – or a lack of water quality – can threaten life as we know it.

But, you can do your part to protect water quality.

ONLY RAIN IN THE DRAIN
Prevent chemicals, oil, vegetation and trash from entering storm drains, which often flow to sources from which municipalities draw potable water. Waste in storm drains can lead to pollution that could render water sources unfit for consumption and recreation.

DISCARD WASTES PROPERLY
Discard all wastes – municipal solid wastes, hazardous wastes, pet wastes – in proper receptacles to prevent them from entering water sources.

REDUCE YOUR USE OF CHEMICALS ON YOUR LAWN AND IN YOUR GARDEN
Pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers can penetrate ground water sources and cause water pollution. Consider natural pest management practices and organic fertilizers to prevent chemicals from infiltrating the aquifer.

CHOOSE BIO-BASED CLEANERS INSTEAD OF CHEMICAL-BASED CLEANERS
Chemicals from cleaners can travel from your household drains to municipal water supplies and recreational water sources. Choose plant-based cleaners to prevent the proliferation of chemicals in water.

DISCARD PRESCRIPTION DRUGS PROPERLY
An investigation by The Associated Press discovered that trace chemicals from prescription drugs can be found in the water supplies of over 40 million Americans. Do not discard prescription drugs in a sink or a toilet. Instead, surrender them to a law enforcement agency or a take-back program. If those options are not feasible, place prescription drugs in your household waste.

PUT FOG IN ITS PLACE
No, not fog. FOG. Fat, oil and grease. These substances can clog water pipes and cause significant, expensive damage to water infrastructure and the environment. Do not pour fat, oil or grease down a drain. Instead, pour it into a sealable container and place the container in your household waste. Or, find an oil recycling program near you.

FOR MORE INFORMATION …

Protecting Water Quality from the Environmental Protection Agency

Protecting Water Quality in Urban Areas from Environmental Protection Agency

Ideas for Organic Gardening and Pest Control from Sustainable Baby Steps

Guide to Healthy Cleaning from the Environmental Working Group

Drug Disposal Information from the Drug Enforcement Administration

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Initiative

Dispose My Meds

Find a Recycling Center Near You

 

 

 

XERISCAPING PROJECTS SAVE WATER DESPITE DROUGHT AT 63RD REGIONAL SUPPORT COMMAND

Drought Tolerant Plants
In the 1746 edition of “Poor Richard’s Almanack,” American statesman Benjamin Franklin wrote, “When the well is dry, we will know the worth of water.” The U.S. Army Reserve knows the worth of water. In fact, the success of every mission depends on it. At some sites, though, drought is turning water into a limited resource and conservation into a necessity.

The 63rd Regional Support Command (RSC) has found a practical way to combat the drought and reduce water consumption with some unique landscaping projects.

“Water conservation projects were, and are, necessary due to the water use observed at many sites,” said Varun Sood, a resource efficiency manager for the 63rd RSC. Many facilities in the Command– which includes the states of California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas – are located in arid geographic areas that continuously experience drought and water scarcity, resulting in high water bills and a lack of water security that threatens to disrupt readiness.

“We want to reduce our total water consumption,” said Sood. To that end, the 63rd RSC added xeriscaping to conservation efforts.

Xeriscaping is the practice of landscaping and gardening that reduces or eliminates the need for supplemental irrigation. Originally developed for drought-afflicted areas, the principles of xeriscaping have a broadening appeal as a result of their many benefits.

Typically, xeriscapes have features that are less water intensive such as stone ground covers and native plants, which are plants that have naturally occurred in a particular habitat over time, with no human intervention. Native plants are well adapted to an area’s unique climate and environmental characteristics such as its water availability, soil composition and indigenous insects. Xeriscapes therefore require less water, fewer fertilizers and fewer pesticides. As a result, these designs have the long-term potential to conserve water, prevent chemical pollution and save money. Hays Kinslow, an energy manager with the 63rd RSC, said that xeriscapes also improve the aesthetics of their sites and reduce the need for water infrastructure and grounds maintenance.

Over the past two years, xeriscapes have been completed in California at Los Alamitos Reserve Center in Los Alamitos, Holderman Hall Reserve Center in Los Angeles and Bell Reserve Center in Bell Gardens. “They are large facilities where we could make a big impact due to the amount of water used there for irrigation,” Sood explained. Currently, another xeriscape is planned for Leymel Hall Reserve Center in Fresno, and the 63rd RSC is exploring ways to incorporate xeriscaping in future projects.

According to Sood, all of the 63rd RSC’s projects include plants native to California, stone ground covers, drip irrigation systems and other features of a traditional xeric garden.

When xeriscapes have been combined with additional water conservation methods, such as plumbing improvements, the results have been quite impressive. The 63rd RSC has reduced its water use by nearly 38 percent from fiscal year 2014 to fiscal year 2015. “Xeriscape projects have reduced the need for irrigation and have definitely contributed to a reduction in water use at our sites,” said Sood.

With their innovative ideas for landscapes that work with the environmental conditions at their sites, the 63rd RSC is contributing to a culture of conservation across the Army Reserve, and they are making every drop count.

READ MORE ABOUT XERISCAPING

Seven Principles of Xeriscaping

Xeriscape from Sustainable Sources

Xeriscape Ideas from The Landscaping Network

Find Native Plants

EMPHASIZING WATER’S ROLE IN ARMY RESERVE’S GLOBAL FOOTPRINT

Water Splash

Article by Jonelle Kimbrough, Communications Coordinator, Army Reserve Sustainability Programs

In life, there is a universal truth: the Earth and its inhabitants cannot live without water.

Water is critical to the health of our global environment and our global economy. The protection of water resources is vital on many levels, and the vulnerabilities of those resources only justify their conservation – especially for the Army Reserve, which relies on water to meet its missions.

From an environmental perspective, clean water is vital to the basic biological functions of all living things. Water is a controlling factor for biodiversity and the distribution of Earth’s varied ecosystems. Water provides habitat for plants and animals, and it is essential to the regulation of the planet’s climate patterns.

From an economic perspective, water is necessary for the production of food, clothing, power and nearly all other consumer goods and services. Access to water is also considered a competitive advantage for a wide array of industries including recreation, agriculture, manufacturing and transportation. According to UN Water, an interagency entity of the United Nations, nearly two million people worldwide depend on water for their livelihoods.

If water resources are not protected properly, though, they can create numerous environmental and financial issues. Although water is considered a renewable resource, it is also a finite resource. Competition for clean water is on the rise as our global population continues to grow. Failing water infrastructure is creating a financial burden on cities where water shortages are already a concern. Costs to treat water for human consumption are also on the rise, and those costs are passed on to consumers. Pollution is decreasing water availability and quality, threatening our natural resources, creating risks for water reliant economic sectors and increasing the proliferation of waterborne illnesses.

Our Soldiers and support force rely on viable, accessible water to maintain readiness and meet mission requirements both at home and overseas. The U.S. Army Reserve has a global footprint, so water crises across the world have the potential to impact our abilities to accomplish our mission. Therefore, the Army Reserve must do its part to conserve water and protect vital resources. According to Paul Wirt, Chief of the Army Reserve Sustainability Programs Branch at the Office of the Chief of the Army Reserve, 46 percent of Army facilities are currently located in vulnerable or high vulnerability areas.

The Army Reserve has been successful in its water conservation efforts. In fiscal year (FY) 2015, the Army Reserve achieved a 42 percent reduction in potable water use intensity (potable water use divided by square footage) and a 25 percent reduction in industrial, landscaping and agricultural water use, compared to a FY 2007 standard. In FY 2015, the Army Reserve saved $406,198 in overall water costs, compared to FY 2014 expenses.

Jaime Kearney, Army Reserve Water Program Coordinator, and Kate McMordie Stoughton, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Senior Engineer, attribute the reduction to several factors.

The implementation of water efficiency projects is leading the charge. For instance, less efficient plumbing devices were replaced with water efficient models at two facilities at Devens Reserve Forces Training Area last year. Kearney said that those facilities expect to see a 30 percent reduction in water use as a result of those actions. Replicating successes like these will have a significant impact on water use across the Army Reserve enterprise.

Leak detection and repair has also contributed to the success. Through the Assess, Maintain, Improve (AIM) Program, Building Energy Monitors at Army Reserve facilities are trained to monitor plumbing devices for leaks and other maintenance issues. “If AIM measures are followed, sites will see reductions in water loss through leaks and wasteful practices,” said McMordie Stoughton.

Alternative water source projects such as rainwater harvesting and facility occupant education will also be at the forefront of continued water conservation efforts.

Ultimately, the most effective aspect of the Water Program may be its holistic approach to sustainability. “We have been working with water managers to distribute information on water reduction both in the work place and the home,” said Kearney, emphasizing that water conservation is the responsibility not only of Soldiers but also of citizens.

Everyone in the Army Reserve community can help conserve our resources by remaining conscious of water use and saving water wherever possible. If we all work together, we can conserve water for our current and future missions and lessen the impact on the world’s water resources.

 

NEW ADDITIONS TO TRAINING PROGRAM ‘AIM’ TO CREATE A SPLASH

Water Splash

A Staff Report

The Army Reserve has reduced potable water use intensity by 42 percent since fiscal year 2007 – notably more than the 16 percent reduction goal. And, it has reduced potable water consumption by 20 percent since 2007.

These numbers indicate that the Army Reserve is successfully saving water in its operations as well as protecting the availability of natural water sources that are so vital to every military mission. While this is an inarguably significant achievement, the progress is only driving forward the efforts to conserve water.

To that end, the Army Reserve has worked with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to establish the Assess, Improve and Maintain Program. According to Ms. Kate McMordie Staughton, Senior Research Engineer with PNNL, the AIM Program will help sites maintain water infrastructure at the facility level. The program targets the most common water-related practices and services including plumbing devices, landscaping and irrigation methods, vehicle wash facilities and dining facilities. “If the AIM measures are followed, sites will see reductions in water loss through leaks and wasteful practices,” said McMordie Staughton. With reduced funds for infrastructure investments, the AIM Program can potentially save fiscal resources for the Army Reserve, too, because it is focused on proactive rather than reactive measures for operations and maintenance.

The AIM Program will be incorporated into Building Energy Monitor (BEM) training. “The BEM Program is a perfect forum to institute critical elements of the AIM Program,” McMordie Staughton remarked. “The BEMs are the first layer of defense to ensure that equipment is operated and maintained in this fashion. BEMs are the ‘boots on the ground’ in the Army Reserve facility who can ensure that water equipment is monitored alongside energy equipment.” For instance, BEMs can easily monitor and assess plumbing devices for leaks and other maintenance issues that need to be addressed.

The AIM Program will be more than a drop in the bucket toward sustainability. Instead, the program will create a major splash in the efforts to incorporate conservation practices into daily operations throughout the Army Reserve.