Recycling Nearly All Resort Water
We began this practice in 2008 through a partnership with the Orange County Water District (OCWD) when we first drained Paradise Bay in preparation for “World of Color.” Rather than sending the water down storm drains into the ocean, we worked with OCWD and diverted the water to its innovative Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS).
“We are so fortunate to have the GWRS — the world’s largest water purification project of its kind — right in our backyard,” said Frank Dela Vara, director of environmental affairs at the Disneyland Resort. “We wanted to take advantage of the possibility of recycling all of our water, so we embarked on a multiyear project that put the infrastructure in place to allow it to happen. Today, almost all the water used at the Resort is recycled in this manner.”
“Disneyland Resort proactively took steps to significantly reduce its net water use and sets a great example for other businesses and organizations to follow,” said Cathy Green, OCWD president. “Our partnership with Disney demonstrates how public and private agencies can best work together to promote sustainability.”
At the GWRS water undergoes a state-of-the-art purification process. Then the water is released into Orange County’s groundwater aquifer. Clean water is drawn from the aquifer by local water agencies and distributed to end-users such as homes and businesses. So, the water Orange County residents get when they turn on their taps could be the same water they sailed over on the Mark Twain Riverboat during their last visit to the Disneyland Resort.
Design, New Buildings and Renovations
- As part of the original design of Disneyland park in 1955, two-thirds of the storm drains at Disneyland park flow to one of a number of interconnected waterways, including the Rivers of America, Storybook Land canals, Castle Moat and Jungle Cruise. The system retains a great deal of storm water while providing natural biological treatment.
- The central bakery at Disneyland Resort and other recently constructed backstage buildings behind Disney California Adventure park use porous asphalt to capture, filter and return rainwater back into the ground, serving as a natural filtration system. Seven acres of porous asphalt were incorporated into the design of the Toy Story Parking Lot.
- Throughout the Resort, restrooms are equipped with low-flow toilets, urinals, shower heads and faucet aerators. Resort hotel guests are invited to participate in water conservation efforts by reusing towels instead of having them changed daily.
Irrigation and Drought-Tolerant Plants
- Low-flow irrigation systems, such as drip irrigation, have been installed in various areas across the Resort, and flow sensors and cut-off valves are used to detect leaks. In addition, preventive maintenance and regular inspections reduce the risk of broken or misaligned sprinkler heads functioning improperly.
- The central bakery features an underground sprinkler system used for the surrounding landscape, preventing water evaporation.
- Drought-tolerant plants can be found throughout the Disneyland Resort and make up a vast majority of the landscape in several lands and attractions, including Cars Land, Frontierland, Autopia and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.