SIERRA ARMY DEPOT, Calif. -- Sierra Army Depot has been recognized for reducing water consumption by more than 25 percent in a year through aggressively implementing low cost and no cost measures.

Sierra was one of 13 recipients of the 2017 Secretary of the Army Energy and Water Management Awards, presented during the Energy Exchange Symposium held in Tampa, Florida, in August.

J. Randall Robinson, acting assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, presented representatives from SIAD with a Water Conservation Award.

"From the installation perspective, we know that installation readiness is critical to warfighter readiness," said Robinson. "Because of this, the Army's installation efforts are focused on readiness and mission accomplishment through commodity reduction and energy and water security improvement."

Located in the high deserts of California with underground water at their only source, Sierra took stringent measures to reduce water consumption as the state was in a record-breaking drought.

"Without conservation, we would become part of the desert," said Nora Chamberlain, SIAD Water Program Manager. "Since 2013 we have reduced water production from 243.8 million gallons a year, to 52.3 million gallons in 2016, and we are not done yet."

From fiscal year 2015 to fiscal year 2016, Sierra reduced water consumption by implementing stringent restrictions of lawn irrigation, reducing operation hours at wash rack facilities, and installing low flow shower heads in on-base apartments and barracks. The Depot also completed repairs to unused water wells and activated them for dust suppression and irrigation, eliminating the use of potable water for these activities.

"Our motto is: When you wake up one morning and get nothing but sand out of your tap instead of water, then you will realize why water conservation is so important," said Chamberlain.

Employees across the Depot played a role in the conversation and it was a team effort to meet Army and State of California mandates, Chamberlain said.

"Sustaining and maintaining is what conservation is about. We sustain to keep our natural resources, deserts and waterways ensuring we have this precious resource and are able to maintain our commitment to the Department of Defense and the Army," said Chamberlain.