May 21, 2013
FISH CREEK, Wis. - Peninsula State Park, which has cut its water use by half in recent years, is taking steps to improve its water efficiency even more.
The park is testing toilets, pipes, and other plumbing to check for leaks and to gauge the plumbing's water efficiency. This "water audit" is part of a pilot project aimed at developing recommendations that can help cut water use and associated costs at this park and others throughout the state system.
"We've reduced the amount of water pumped from the ground by nearly 47 percent in the last five years while our park attendance remained above one million annual visitors," says Chuck Smrz, the park's utilities specialist. "The reduction in water use represents a significant financial savings and is good for the park's natural resources, too. I think we can do even better, and the water audit can help us do that."
The Department of Natural Resources received a grant from the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program to audit and retrofit the water infrastructure at the park as a pilot to improve water efficiency across the state parks. "We're asking municipalities, industrial facilities and farms to all evaluate their water use for efficiency, so it only makes sense that the state do this as well," says Shaili Pfeiffer, a DNR water specialist.
Once the contractor conducting the water audit has filed his report, DNR staff will decide which improvements to make immediately at the park and which to add to the long-term facilities plan. The project includes a follow up audit in May 2014 to verify the water savings, Pfeiffer says.
The experience gained at Peninsula State Park, one of the three most visited parks in the state, will be used to help reduce water use at other state parks, says Missy VanLanduyt, DNR state park capital improvements coordinator. Wisconsin has 52 state parks that in 2012 drew a record 14 million visits.
"State park facilities managers are dedicated stewards of Wisconsin's resources," she says. "This audit is a great way to give them a new tool to evaluate water use and information about what kinds of efficient fixtures will work in an intensive use environment like Wisconsin's state park campgrounds."
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Shaili Pfeiffer 608-267-7630 or Steve Elmore 608-264-9246; Contact Peninsula State Park: Kelli Bruns (920) 868-3258