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Water Conservation is Key at Houston Airports


September 1, 2011

© Houston Airport System
During periods of rain, water is collected, stored and transferred to trucks.  It can then be used in certain landscaped areas.
The Houston Airport System is implementing several water conservation measures, as the City of Houston continues to cope with severe drought conditions.

August 2011 was one of the hottest months in Houston’s history, with 30 days of high temperatures over the one-hundred degree mark.

Rainfall amounts for the area have also contributed to a drop in the area’s water supply levels. From February 1 to August 31, the Houston area recorded approximately six inches of rain, while the normal amount for that time period is more than 27 inches.

The lack of rainfall is responsible for triggering stage two of the city’s water shortage response plan. Part of the plan establishes the goal of a 10 percent reduction in water usage for each city department.

“As a responsive strategy, the airport has eliminated some discretionary water use, such as washing fleet vehicles at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, William P. Hobby Airport and Ellington Airport,” says Mario C. Diaz, Houston director of aviation. “The only exceptions involve certain specialized vehicles which may suffer damage without proper cleaning maintenance.”

Bush Intercontinental Airport is only employing sprinkler use in certain targeted pre-approved areas. Those sprinkler systems still in use are utilizing recycled ground water.

That water is collected as runoff during periods of rain. It’s then stored in a collecting pool and eventually siphoned into carrier trucks for use in a variety of different ways.

“Recycling gives us a chance to save some landscaping that likely would have been lost to the heat otherwise,” says Peter Ferguson, project manager for the water conservation program. “It allows us to maintain a minimal level of watering until the rains return.”

Hobby Airport personnel have also turned off the water flow to an on-site fountain and sprinkler systems are no longer in operation at both Hobby and Ellington Airports. 
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