US Army launches Net Zero water, waste and energy initiative

The US Army identified six of its camps on 19 April 2011 to become “net zero” water installations – limiting consumption of freshwater resources and returning water back to the same watershed so as not to deplete annual water resources in that region in quantity and quality.

The Net Zero initiative will also focus on energy and waste usage procedures as well as water, explained Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the army for installations, energy and environment.
 As well as six camps in each category, two camps will be practicing conservation in all three categories: Fort Bliss, Texas, and Fort Carson, Colorado.

Maj Gen Dana Pittard, the commanding general of Fort Bliss, said his base is planning on building a 20 MW solar facility and a Net Zero housing community of at least 500 homes in the future. He also explained that conserving water in Texas is a challenge because of the hot, dry climate there. 

“The issue of water in the desert is a huge issue for us,” Pittard said.

Bliss is working with the neighboring city of El Paso on how to better use grey water. Pittard said that newly-built base housing areas have been landscaped with naturally-growing desert plants, and Fort Bliss is working on renovating other parts of the base with similar landscaping essentially getting rid of lawns and trees that require lots of watering.

The installations participating in the pilot for Net Zero water by 2020 are:

  • Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland
  • Camp Rilea, Oregon
  • Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico
  • Fort Riley, Kansas
  • Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington
  • Tobyhanna Army Depot, Pennsylvania.