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Are LMU’s fountains and greenery drought-friendly?

Are LMU’s fountains and greenery drought-friendly?

On the crossroads of Lincoln Boulevard and LMU Drive, the Lincoln Fountain is a spectacle for LMU students, faculty, and visitors approaching the main entrance to the university. Standing at about 30 feet tall, the Lincoln Fountain first turned on its water in 2003. In response to California’s drought state of emergency, the fountain was forced to be temporarily shut off. The school was able to turn it back on again in 2017. Near the fountain is University Hall, which is surrounded by grassy hills and exceptionally well-kept landscaping.

The sight of the fountain in addition to clusters of palm trees and plant life suggests an inviting atmosphere to many. But for others, it may look as if LMU is unaware of the severe drought that has taken the state of California by storm. 

According to the National Drought Mitigation Center, Los Angeles County is experiencing its fourth driest year to date over the past 128 years — affecting around 10 million LA County residents. The U.S. Drought Monitor, which measures the location and intensity of droughts across the country every Thursday, finds that 96.75% of Los Angeles County is in the Severe Drought category, the third worst out of five.

Green LMU, a self-described team of “faculty, staff, students, and parents committed to bettering the environment in creative, eco-friendly ways,” confirms the Lincoln Fountain passes the test of ensuring minimal water usage and consumption. The fountain is said to require about 45 thousand gallons of water per year, and recirculates the water in use, according to LMU’s website. This is approximately the same amount of water as only 1.7 showers per week.

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In regards to LMU’s yearly water usage, the Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS) rates LMU a “Gold” university as of March 2020. STARS also claims that 75 percent of LMU’s irrigation needs are supplied by non-potable reclaimed water that is purchased through the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). As for LMU’s landscaping, STARS reported that LMU implemented hydro-zoning plantings, which simply groups plants with similar water-based needs and installed drought-tolerant plants around campus. 

Photo: Loyola Marymount University

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