Water Conservation Efforts Leak on Campus

New water meters will be installed on SUNY New Paltz campus in an effort to accurately measure water consumption and serve as another step in promoting water conservation. 

On Saturday, Oct. 20, Mayor Tim Rogers announced on his Facebook page that a new water system will be installed on the school’s campus, adding nine new master meters, in addition to the campuses current approximately 52 water meters.

In recent times, regulating water consumption has become a top priority for New Paltz officials, being that two weeks have passed since the Catskill Aqueduct shut down for maintenance and four weeks have passed since the start of the SUNY New Paltz “Slow the Flow” campaign.

New Paltz officials are continuously taking every opportunity possible in order to conserve water. This includes formulating new plans to use water more sustainably in the future.

Rogers explained why he believed the project was a necessary addition.

“We took a closer look at how we were using water and how the college is using water and we thought this would be a great way to make improvements and make everyone more mindful of consumption.”

The project, which is largely being funded by a grant from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), intends to promote water conservation by installing nine new master meters at the property line on campus, which will be able to detect leakages that the current 52 meters cannot. 

“[The 52] meters at the building will only show the water use inside the building(s), not any water use that may occur underground before the meter from something like a leak from a broken pipe,” said Assistant Vice President of Facilities Management John Shupe. “Installing master water meters at the property line will allow us to monitor all water usage including water used because of a water leak from a broken underground pipe.”

Shupe also mentioned what would happen to the existing meters, stating “[We will] leave the old meters in place, and look at them to see if there’s any abnormality in use.”

Mayor Rogers broke down the costs of  the project is expected to cost including the DEC grant, and how much each party is responsible for paying (SUNY New Paltz and The Village of New Paltz).

“So the way this project will be funded, the DEP will pay up to $235,000 toward it and our original estimate for the project was two times $235,000, so that’s 470,000 bucks. So the college will be responsible for either half the cost of the project or any amount greater than whatever not covering if the project is greater than $470,000. We actually went through a great deal of negotiating to make sure that our agreement between the village of New Paltz and SUNY New Paltz was buttoned up.” 

Once the DEC finalizes the agreement, which takes three to six months, the Mayor will select a contractor and construction of the new meters will begin. 

“Once it’s ‘registered’, then we can go ahead and get contractors to bid on the job,“ Rodgers said. “It should be all ready within the next few months.”