EDES 408 - Implementing Sustainable Principles: Water and Human Environment

As one of the required courses for the Sustainable Design Minor in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, EDES 408 provides students the opportunity to work with in an inter-disciplinary environment and implement knowledge on sustainable environment on real life issues.

In the relatively dry Mediterranean climate of the central coast, water is a significant limiting factor on the carrying capacity of this landscape. Despite only twenty annual inches of rain fall, this landscape supports a rich ecology, which for thousands of years has included humans. As the human population continues to grow, it will reach levels that are historically unprecedented. The impact on the ecology of our watershed and the availability of clean water will become an increasing concern.

San Luis Obispo Creek


Description of Assignment:

Our assignment is to study human impacts on the landscape of San Luis Creek watershed. We selected the land use type of Institutional, focusing on water issues in Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. We were then to conduct an in-depth research and propose suggested actions that may be taken to make this land use more sustainable.

Why do we care about water on Campus?

As many don't know, water is a scarce resource in San Luis Obispo due to increase enrollment, expansion of campus and droughts.

1. Increase Enrollement: Cal Poly, and other CSU campus, are going to experience "Tidal Wave II," which is caused by the increase of college age population. "Tidal Wave I" was the baby boomers, and their children are ready for college. Can CSU campus, more specifically, Cal Poly support this change?

2. Expansion: Cal Poly currently is building the new student housing and the new engineering building. Future plans include more student housing and a new science building. This will certainly have some impact on the campus water. Is Cal Poly prepared?

3. Droughts: San Luis Obispo only has a yearly rain fall of 13 inches, which is catergorized as a dry area. Periodic droughts are also part of the SLO life. Last big drought happened in early 90's and lasted for 7 years. Future droughts are expected. What can Cal Poly do to prepare the droughts?

Aquatechnics Members:

Jason Dorfman, Kristy Kellas, Scott Menzel, Vivian Ngo, Sarah Powell, Shawn Webb