Contrasting Water Usage on Campus

Contrasting Water Usage on Campus

Student Artist: Congkai Huang
Course: Data Visualization with Lucy HG Solomon
Sustainability Focus: Water Use and Conservation
Data Source: 2016 Report on water usage on campus
Media: cups, paperboard, graphic printout

Contrasting Water Usage on Campus shows changes in various water usage over twelve months. The data reflects CSUSM’s water usage from the year 2016, with the amount of water used for irrigation accounting for the majority of campus water usage. During off-semester periods, the data reveals that water usage is reduced to a lower level than during peak study months.

This project explores the water usage of different places at CSUSM. I carried out my investigation on campus because it is both local – my reality – and also because this data was attainable. The data is the most important part of my research. I worked with sustainability manager Juliana Goodlaw-Morris to get the data on water usage at CSUSM for the 2016 calendar year. This data is separated into three parts: Arts water usage, Library water usage and Well water pulled for irrigation.

I then analyzed the data to glean some useful information from it. In this process I made some charts with the data. These three charts show the different water usage in different months of the year, revealing the influence of time and season on water use.

These two charts show the differences in the water usage of the contrasting sites. This visual comparison shows the differences in quantity.

Through these graphs, one can get a better understanding of the data. I built the data translation project on these graphs. I used three different colors and sizes of paperboard to distinguish the three different sites’ water usage. The blue paperboard represents Arts water usage. The red one represents Library water usage. The green one represents well water used for irrigation.

I also used different amounts of paperboard to represent the differences between the amounts of water usage. From the chart we can see that the Arts water usage has the lowest proportion, so for that I used only a small amount of paperboard. I used a moderate amount of paperboard to represent Library water usage and a large amount of paperboard to represent the well water used for irrigation.

At the same time, in order to show the contrast of three kinds of water usage intuitively, I prepared three cups of the same size.

And then, I put paperboard into those three cups.

Through those three cups one can experience the water usage on campus in a different way. I used the overview of the CSUSM campus for reference, in order to have a more intuitive understanding of the three sites’ water usage (Arts water usage, Library water usage, well water irrigation).

After creating the installation and visualizing this water usage data, the following can be concluded:

  • Irrigation water accounts for the vast majority of campus water usage in 2016.
  • With high temperatures in California in this year, coupled with low precipitation, a lot of water had to be used for irrigation.
  • In winter and spring, due to the decrease of temperature and the increase of precipitation, the water consumption for irrigation falls sharply.
  • During school vacations, artificial water usage is reduced to a very low level.
  • In campus buildings, when there is an increase of visitors to buildings, water consumption increases.