The direction of our project focuses on the water usage on campus. We were curious as to who provides our University with water, if it is produced locally, and what it means to use fair/sustainable water. We chose to interview a member of the faculty in the Dining Services to obtain some of this information, and other information was obtained by contacting other faculty by e-mail. Josh Berg informed us that UW-Stout’s tap water comes locally from the Mount Simon Aquifer. After some research we learned from an MPR News article that “Hundreds of thousands of people rely on the Mt. Simon aquifer for water. It's basically saturated sandstone, anywhere from 600 to more than a 1,000 feet underground. Tests shows some of the aquifer's water is 30,000 years old, but there are isolated problems of supply in the formation. Research is underway to determine the health of the Mt. Simon aquifer.” Also, we learned how an aquifer actually works, the article stating “It's common to think of an aquifer as an underground lake, but that's inaccurate. Think instead of sand soaked with water. The water doesn't flow, but rather trickles slowly down between the grains of sand. Pump too much water out of an aquifer and it may take years for a similar quantity of water to return.” Berg also shared that in terms of bottled water, Stout has exclusive pouring rights with Pepsi Bottling of Eau Claire.  As of July 1, 2016, Stout has purchased over 19,000 20 ounce bottles of Aquafina. Overall, we consume about 42 million gallons of fresh water annually (over a 6-year average). Campus faculty Sarah Ferber was interviewed by Dane in a short questionnaire where we learned a bit about the sustainability of water. She believes that tap water should be prioritized over bottled water, with concerns to material waste and financial burden. Also, the most sustainable water is believed to be local water, similar to themes we learned in class concerning local food as an environmentally sustainable system of production. One question that we were interested in but unable to research much was a question of if we throw away a substantial amount of water containers.


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