News Releases

California Prisons Reduce Water Consumption

26 Percent Reduction Lessens State’s Impact on Drought

NORCO –SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) announced today that it has reduced its water consumption by 26 percent or approximately 3 billion gallons in Fiscal Year 2008-09, and is continuing its aggressive water conservation efforts in Fiscal Year 2009-10.

CDCR’s water conservation program began in 2006 with a pilot project to install flush restricting valves on toilets in selected prisons. In 2008, under the direction of Governor Schwarzenegger’s Executive Order S-06-08 that declared a state of drought in California, CDCR set a goal of reducing water consumption by 20 percent statewide.

“As California’s largest state agency and a major water user, our prisons have taken steps to reduce water usage across the board,” said CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate. “In addition, we have prepared a comprehensive drought response plan in anticipation of future dry periods.”

CDCR’s expansive water savings program examined water usage in its 33 prisons and correctional facilities. Water consumption was reduced on a massive scale through conservation, elimination of nonessential use, retrofits and increased efficiencies.

“Through the efforts of our wardens and staff across the state, we have achieved the Governor’s goal for our agency of reducing consumption by 20 percent, and are continuing to search for new and innovative means to lessen the impact of the drought,” said Cate.
CDCR’s water savings is achieved through the following:

Flush restricting valves have been installed at nearly one-third of all adult institutions.

Prisons and other facilities have enacted low-or-no-cost water conservation methods.

Headquarters has distributed a “Best Management Practices Water Management & Conservation” document to all institutions that covers:

eliminating nonessential water use;

modifying practices for water efficient landscaping;

leak detection and repair – building systems and equipment;

water-efficient irrigation; and

laundries and vehicle washing.

On-site Water Consumption Surveys have been initiated at prisons.

CDCR has identified other opportunities for additional water savings through operational modifications and best practices in inmate housing, kitchens, grounds and laundries.

Additional water conservation projects have been launched.

Progress is monitored at CDCR Headquarters through surveys and a centralized reporting process.

CDCR’s water conservation efforts are part of its agency-wide resource conservation program. CDCR is on-track to achieve the goal laid out by the Governor of reaching a 20 percent reduction in energy usage by 2015. These savings will be realized through the use of solar photovoltaic power plants, implementing peak load reduction programs, and by installing the latest in lighting technology.

Link to CDCR Water Savings website, including water savings tips and photographs: