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UC Davis Water Usage Snapshot, Fall 2014

October 21st, 2014 @ 1:00 pm by Camille Kirk

The following report is provided by David Phillips (director of utilities) and Camille Kirk (assistant director of sustainability):

icons_map_dropAs of September 30, 2014, UC Davis is not on track to meet the goal set in January to reduce total campus water use by 20%. Metering records show that the campus has used 2% more water year-to-date in 2014 than for the same period in 2013. Despite this poor overall result, the detailed monthly data show excellent progress in several areas where specific actions have been undertaken. The data also suggest where additional, prioritized study and action are necessary to reduce water use. Campus performance is expected to improve as additional measures are implemented. This recent focus on metrics and analyzing metered water use data in response to the drought is a very positive step forward for campus water management.

The April 2014 UC Davis Drought Response Action Plan described the campus water systems. The pie chart below shows the relative proportions of the four categories of water use on the Davis campus, and is helpful in understanding how performance in the different categories of water use affects total use.

The pie chart illustrates the 2013 proportions of Davis campus water uses.

The pie chart illustrates the 2013 proportions of Davis campus water uses.

Irrigation (Utility) Water (reduced consumption)

Changes made in landscape irrigation schedules have been very effective and metered water use has dropped by 21%, which equates to a savings totaling 63 million gallons. The irrigation water supply is mainly groundwater pumped from intermediate aquifers. The 21% drop accounts for the additional 18 million gallons of Solano Project water intentionally sent into the Arboretum Waterway to prevent wildlife and plant collection deaths. Solano Project water is the surface water that UC Davis has access to under an accord permitting beneficial use of water stored in Lake Berryessa. This year’s use of Solano Project water in the Arboretum Waterway is planned to be a one-time action. The campus expects to receive regulatory approval in 2015 to use tertiary-treated wastewater as the dry-weather supply for the Waterway.

Fisheries Water (reduced consumption)

Overall, water used for campus fisheries research has dropped by 10%, with year-to-date reductions totaling 30 million gallons. Changes completed in June 2014 to control the well that provides the majority of the campus aquaculture research water reduced pumping from this facility by 20-25%. The changes included restoring a float to proper operation so that the well pump discharge was reduced when the water was not needed for research.

Domestic Water (increased consumption)

The domestic water supply is currently entirely groundwater pumped from a deep aquifer. Total domestic water use has increased by 4% year-to-date. Total use is measured by summing up all of the well pumping records. Only about half of the domestic water used on campus is metered at the building level. Metered water use has remained about the same as in 2013, despite the addition of several new buildings in 2014. Changes made during the summer in operating large cooling towers has resulted in a net reduction of central plant domestic water use by 12%, or 10 million gallons.

Interestingly, the water attributed to un-metered facilities increased by 12% this year. Leaks and water used for fire hydrant flushing are both un-metered uses. The meter data highlight the importance of campus efforts to find and promptly repair all water leaks. Report leaks, broken fixtures and irrigation spray heads, and other water waste to Facilities Management by calling (530) 752-1655 during typical business hours, filing a work order (the online work order requires a UC Davis login), or emailing om-customers@ad3.ucdavis.edu.

Agriculture Water (increased consumption)

The agriculture water supply is a mix of both pumped groundwater from the shallow/intermediate aquifers and surface water supply from the Solano Project. Water used for field teaching and research increased by 24% in 2014. The 119 million gallon increase in this category more than offset the savings in all other areas. Twenty-four million gallons of the increase is attributed to a large leak near the main reservoir for this system that occurred early 2014. Given the size and age of the leaking pipe, the repair was very complex and several weeks were needed to complete the work. Water use trends varied across the campus’ agricultural lands, with some parcels using less water and some using more. Additional outreach with stakeholders is necessary to identify opportunities for future reductions.

In addition, it preliminarily appears that the campus took considerably more water from Solano Project than can be accounted for in the metered use on campus. These results may be due to errors in metering, but they also suggest that the 20-mile main pipeline may be leaking. Efforts are underway to research this possibility.

If you have questions about this interim update on water conservation, you can email savewater@ucdavis.edu. And, please visit Take Action: Save Water to read more about ways you can help reduce campus water use.

 

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UC Regents: Listen to Your Community. Be True Climate Leaders.

September 10th, 2014 @ 1:11 pm by Camille Kirk

The Regents of the University of California are being asked to consider divestment from fossil fuels at the upcoming September meeting. In advance of that meeting, the Sustainable 2nd Century blog is hosting two guest posts this week about the fossil fuel divestment effort. This post is an excerpt of a longer essay about the Fossil Free UC movement written by UC Davis student Emili Abdel-Ghany, a Community and Regional Development senior, California Student Sustainability Coalition Field Organizer for the Fossil Freedom Solidarity Organizing Program and former Senior Field Organizer for the Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign.

Fossil Free UC rally at the May 2014 University of California Regents meeting in Sacramento, California. Photo credit: Becca Rast.

Fossil Free UC rally at the May 2014 University of California Regents meeting in Sacramento, California. Photo credit: Becca Rast.

Over the past three years I have seen communities rise up together across UC Davis, the entire UC, and reaching out into California and beyond, even reaching the front page of the Wall Street Journal’s Money and Investing segment. The campaign to divest our communities from the fossil fuel industry is one that resonates with folks from every part of society. I have had the opportunity to help shape the campaign on the local (Davis) level and statewide, coordinating multiple actions at the Sacramento UC Regents meetings and others. I have personally dedicated a majority of my undergraduate career to this campaign and to the education of the broader campus and California community (UC Davis and beyond). Faith communities, those fighting for racial or gender equity, scientific communities, campus departments, educators and countless students have thanked the campaign leaders for enlightening them about what UC investments are doing. I have seen how galvanizing the issue of unsustainable investments can be for students, faculty, staff, and the community. Almost every time I’ve told someone about this campaign their reaction is the same: They did not know that the UC invests donations in fossil fuel industries which constitutes a lack of transparency from the UC, and they do not want the UC to be investing in or even using fossil fuels. Further, they want to have a say in the process given that UC is a public institution of research and higher education, and are strongly opposed to the direction the UC is going in its relationship to the industry fueling climate change. Although the UC has just made significant strides to advance solar, it is a moral contradiction to invest in the companies driving the climate crisis while investing in those attempting to halt it.

Our movement for climate justice is reaching a tipping point this September, and here in California we must act to hold our flagship public institution accountable for financing climate chaos.  UC Regents on the Committee on Investments will be voting on fossil fuel divestment at their meeting September 17th meeting at the UCSF Mission Bay campus. We need as many voices from community, students, faculty, administration present. The Chief Investment Officer (CIO) recently altered his original recommendation to the Committee on Investments (COI), which would have advocated for a loose ESG (Environmental and Social Governance) framework for investing and explicitly stated recommending a “No” vote on divestment. In my opinion, this recommendation would completely disregard and even misconstrue the meaning of the work of students and the community, since it does not take immediate action to halt all new investments in the top 200 fossil fuel companies, drop the current holdings, and begin to reinvest in our communities. However, because of student and community pressure (by countless phone calls to the CIO) the Task Force recommended that the decision on Fossil Fuel Divestment be assigned to the COI, ending the Task Force. This minor concession is thanks to the people power generated by Fossil Free UC.

Any recommendation that the CIO makes to the Task Force will be taken very seriously by the Committee on Investments and voted on at their Friday September 12th meeting happening via teleconference in Oakland, LA, and Santa Barbara. If you would like to be involved in the momentum around this please email CSSC Field Organizer Jake Soiffer or Madeline Oliver. Most Regents will likely defend his position. We need to keep up the public pressure on decision makers. The Regents will likely still vote yes on whatever the CIO recommends to the COI. It will be incredibly important to have as many people at this meeting supporting our campaign as possible. If you are faculty we have a template letter that we would love for you sign onto/adapt and send you may contact CSSC Campaign Director, Emily Williams for this letter. Otherwise (for non-faculty), you can send your input to the UC Regents via email  regentsoffice@ucop.edu, mail: Office of the Secretary and Chief of Staff to the Regents 1111 Franklin St.,12th floor Oakland, CA 94607 with attention to the Committee on Investments. The regent who chairs this committee is Paul Wachter, it would be good to address concerns to him since the decision is in the hands of the COI as of now. If you will be sending a letter after Friday please email it to CSSC Field Organizer Alyssa Lee and she will circulate it appropriately.

The UC has to lead. We have to act now. The Regents have the opportunity of a lifetime to listen to the outcry of the people and divest NOW!

For more information follow:
www.fossilfreeuc.org
www.facebook.com/FossilFreeUC
www.sustainabilitycoalition.org
www.twitter.com/FossilFreeUC
To be added to list serves email Alyssa Lee.

Read Emili’s essay, from which this post was excerpted, to learn more about what has compelled her to become active in divestment efforts.

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It’s Time to Divest from Fossil Fuels

September 8th, 2014 @ 4:19 pm by Camille Kirk

The Regents of the University of California are being asked to consider divestment from fossil fuels at the upcoming September meeting. In advance of that meeting, the Sustainable 2nd Century blog is hosting two guest posts this week about the fossil fuel divestment effort. This post is written by Stephen M. Wheeler, Associate Professor, Department of Human Ecology.

Fossil fuel companies play a major role in promoting carbon-intensive societies. Should UC be investing in them? Photo and caption by Stephen M. Wheeler.

Photo of Valero refinery in Benicia, California. Fossil fuel companies play a major role in promoting carbon-intensive societies. Should UC be investing in them? Photo and caption by Stephen M. Wheeler.

At universities across the country the subject of fossil fuel divestment is in the news. Students, alumni, faculty, and staff are pressing trustees to drop schools’ investments in corporations threatening our future through global warming emissions. Already last spring Stanford gained a lead on the University of California by agreeing not to invest in coal stocks. Wouldn’t it be wonderful for UC to regain the moral lead by divesting from fossil fuels across the board?

Global warming is the largest sustainability challenge of our time. UC plays a positive role through research into climate change and renewable energy technologies, and through efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from UC campuses. However, an issue of this sort calls for moral leadership as well. California as a state has already adopted strong policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. By divesting from fossil fuel stocks UC can take a stand as well, and further build its reputation as a worldwide leader on sustainability topics.

As a student I was active in the late-1970s and 1980s movement to get colleges to divest from corporations doing business in South Africa, at a time when South Africa rigidly separated blacks and whites and Nelson Mandela was in prison. The University of California took a lead in countering racism back then by divesting some $3 billion in South-African-related stocks. Mandela later credited UC’s action with significantly helping to abolish apartheid.

Please do whatever you can—as a student, faculty member, staff person, or alumni—to encourage the UC Regents to vote for divestiture during 2014-15. Regents will first take up the issue on September 17, but additional consideration is likely throughout the year.

Information about how to contact the Regents is at http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/contact/index.html. The best form of contact may be a written comment sent by email on “Divestment from fossil fuels” prior to any Regents meeting at which this topic is on the agenda. You can review agendas at http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/meetings/index.html.

Let’s see our University on the cutting edge of social change once more.

 

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Celebrate Eco-Heroes and Climate Solutions Awards on Sunday, April 27

April 25th, 2014 @ 12:38 pm by Camille Kirk

This guest post comes from Lynne Nittler, a member of Cool Davis, a citizen group working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the city of Davis. We would like to add that two of the honorees are UC Davis folks: Andy Frank, often called the “father of the plug-in hybrid,” with Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Kristin Heinemeier, with the Western Cooling Efficiency Center. Come help celebrate and honor them and the other awardees!

Call of the Wolf performer, in costume

Call of the Wolf performer, in costume

Cool Davis celebrates Earth Day on April 27 at the Veterans Memorial Theater from 2:30-4:00 with the presentation of Eco-Hero and Climate Solution Awards and several performances entitled “Call of the Wolf.”

Cool Davis gives out Eco-Hero Awards to individuals and Climate Solution Awards to businesses and groups who are showing the way to living more sustainably.  This year’s awards go to:

  • Eco-Heroes — Kristin Heinemeier, Andy Frank, Carla Peterson, Ivy Zhou & Marissa Wong
  • Climate Solutions Awards — Hallmark Properties (Reed Youmans), Davis Bicycles! Schools Committee ( Christal Waters & Trish Price), United Methodist Church of Davis

After the awards presentations, enter a wolf’s world.  “Call of the Wolf” features professional story-teller Tom Wade presenting “Stories from the Wolf’s Den” followed by  “Journey:  Dance, Music and Poetry.” The striking dance piece with musical accompaniment, performed by Ecokinesis Dance Company and Crane Culture Theater, tells the remarkable story of the lone California wolf who visited northern California the last three winters and has just returned again this February.  The narrated dance captures the experience of the wolf with all the grace, cunning, exuberance, weariness, loneliness and triumph of a solitary creature making his way in the wild.  Appropriate for ages 9 and up.

Guests who walk, bike or ride the bus earn a chance to win a cool prize!  Suggested donations at the door  are $10 for adults and $5 for children.  A reception follows.

Thanks to our Sponsors: City of Davis, Dos Coyotes, Rec Solar, Yolo Federal Credit Union, and Mars, Inc.

For more information visit www.cooldavis.org/news or contact info@cooldavis.org.

Share on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cooldaviscity or
Follow us on twitter! @cooldaviscity

 

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Energy Challenge Pilot of the Campus Energy Feedback System

April 21st, 2014 @ 7:32 am by Camille Kirk

This guest post comes from Kiernan Salmon, Energy Analyst with the UC Davis Energy Conservation Office:

UC Davis Staff and Students! Are you aware of how much energy you use at work each day? What about how much it takes to keep UC Davis campus buildings running? The Energy Conservation Office (ECO) wants to provide you with this information!

The Student Staff from the ECO are in the process of creating a web-based system, called the Campus Energy Feedback System or CFES. This system will allow you to see how energy intensive your everyday activities are, learn what individual practices you can change to use less, compare current use with historical use and provide feedback to the ECO to make your work environment more sustainable.

A CEFS web page was piloted in the Tercero Residence Halls as part of the 2014 Go Zero Waste Dorm Energy Challenge. Challenge participants could log on to the CEFS web page to view their energy use, earn conservation badges, and track their building’s progress. This dorm energy web page is still viewable at http://eco.ucdavis.edu.

Screenshot of the Campus Energy Feedback System during the dorm energy challenge in February 2014.

Screenshot of the Campus Energy Feedback System during the dorm energy challenge in February 2014.

 

The Energy Conservation Office is expanding the CEFS web page to other buildings on campus. If you want to learn about your energy consumption, stay tuned for news on the Campus Energy Dashboard.

Any questions or comments? Send them to ucdaviseco@ucdavis.edu!

 

 

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UC Davis Releases Drought Response Action Plan

April 17th, 2014 @ 1:38 pm by Camille Kirk

icons_map_drop

Earlier this year, Governor Brown declared a drought state of emergency and called on Californians to reduce their water use by 20 percent. UC Davis is taking this call to action seriously. Here is what the campus is doing and how you can take action, too.

First, you may be interested to learn that while UC Davis enrollment has nearly tripled since 1969, our campus is using the same amount of water as it did in the 1970s. That is because we have worked hard, often in response to previous droughts, to reduce water consumption throughout our operations.

Current campus water-saving measures

Our current Drought Response Action Plan outlines additional actions to strive for a further 20 percent reduction in water use. These measures include:

  • Reducing irrigation schedules and fine-tuning watering systems.
  • Continuing the replacement of decorative turf grass with drought-resistant ground covers.
  • Expanding conservation practices in dining services.
  • Recycling the water used in the Central Heating and Cooling Plant more often.

    Pumps and pipes that convey potable water to campus buildings. Meters connected to these pumps help reveal how much water is being used across the campus at any given time. Photo credit: David Phillips, UC Davis.

    Pumps and pipes that convey potable water to campus buildings. Meters connected to these pumps help reveal how much water is being used across the campus at any given time. Photo credit: David Phillips, UC Davis.

  • Washing fleet vehicles less frequently.
  • Investigating opportunities to achieve water savings in agricultural and research water use.
  • Communicating water conservation practices to campus residents and summer conference guests.

To share UC Davis work in water research and policy advising, the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences is organizing a Drought Science, Policy and Management Summit to be held April 25th in Sacramento.

Your role in saving water

All members of the campus community can contribute to water savings in several ways:

  • Lab and office managers should consult the sustainability website for a list of water-wise lab practices.
  • In restrooms, break rooms and labs, turn off water when you are not directly using it.
  • Report water leaks, broken fixtures and irrigation spray heads, and other water waste to Facilities Management by phone (530-752-1655), online (om-as.ucdavis.edu/WebWO) or by email, facilities@ucdavis.edu.

The California Department of Water Resources hosts an excellent website, Save Our Water, with more resources for water savings, and our own UC Davis Arboretum offers numerous resources for water-wise home landscaping. These and many other drought-related resources can be found at drought.ucdavis.edu, where you can also learn more about UC Davis research, outreach and policy work.

Thank you for your stewardship efforts to save water as California and UC Davis face this drought together. If you have any questions or suggestions, please send them to savewater@ucdavis.edu.

——————————

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Jess S. Jackson Sustainable Winery Building Wins Best Practice Award!

April 9th, 2014 @ 4:00 pm by Camille Kirk

We are very excited to share the following guest post, which is contributed by Gary Dahl, Director of Project Management-Capital Projects, UC Davis Design and Construction Management:

The award-winning Jess Jackson Sustainable Winery Building, looking east. Photo credit: UC Davis.

The award-winning Jess Jackson Sustainable Winery Building, looking east.

UC Vice President Patrick Lenz announced last week that the UC Davis Jess S. Jackson Sustainable Winery Building has won Best Overall Sustainable Design in UC’s tenth annual Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Design Awards program.

Employing thermal mass and a high performance cladding system, the building does not have a traditional heating and air conditioning system and is completely heated and cooled by passive strategies including night time ventilation and an underground thermal rock bed. Lighting and plug load requirements are met by photovoltaic panels on the roof and the building is pursuing net-zero energy certification from the Living Building Challenge. The building also captures and stores rain water from the roof. The Jess S. Jackson Sustainable Winery building will serve as a test bed facility for faculty currently collaborating with industry partners to develop innovative new systems to demonstrate net-zero water and net-zero energy in the commercial production of wine. You can read more project details in the building brochure (PDF file).

Congratulations to Project Manager & Assistant Director Julie Nola and all the DCM folks in project coordination, contracts, engineering, commissioning and inspection who contributed to this achievement!

- Gary Dahl

All of us at the Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability office join Gary in congratulating Julie Nola and our other colleagues at Design and Construction Management who built this project!

 

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Big Water Savings in Chemistry

April 1st, 2014 @ 2:12 pm by Camille Kirk

icons_map_dropSustainable 2nd Century and the Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability will blog about water use, water conservation and the drought throughout 2014, with a special emphasis on these topics during spring quarter.

For our first water-focused post, we’re going to share something that the Chemistry Department at UC Davis has done to conserve water.

Research instrumentation often generates a lot of heat, thus needing water cooling. The UC Davis Chemistry Department is on the road to converting all of its water cooling from single-pass, domestic water use, to cooling by the campus chilled water loop. In 2010, machine shop engineer Michael Sisto realized that a chilled water pipe was in close proximity to two x-ray diffractometers, each using about 8-10 liters per minute, twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week. For under $1,000 in expense to the department, he was able to tie into the chilled water loop, saving close to two million gallons per year of drinking water.

Future cooling water upgrades will be more expensive and will require a substantial commitment from the department, dean and provost. Chemistry plans to spend close to $100,000 in converting a stand-alone cooling loop for the building, and then connecting other instruments that are still on single pass cooling. A double benefit from this “process cooling” will be a helium recovery system that will recycle 80-90% of the super-cooling gas needed for cryochemistry. The 2013 helium bill in Chemistry was more than $60,000. Similar recycling systems are already working for the benefit of principal investigators and the campus in the Physics Department.

Other departments with process cooling loads are encouraged to follow Chemistry’s example. Bravo, UC Davis Chemistry!

If you have a story of water conservation that you would like to tell, or a leak or water-saving idea you would like to report, write to savewater@ucdavis.edu.

 

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Entering the 2015 Solar Decathlon!

December 3rd, 2013 @ 11:02 am by Camille Kirk

This guest post comes from William Abernathy, a staff writer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. UC Davis is applying to enter the Solar Decathlon, a prestigious competition. We hope you will help us successfully enter! Read more about the competition application and how to get involved:

The UC Davis community has set in motion an effort to enter the 2015 Solar Decathlon, the US Department of Energy’s ZNE_One_Solar_Decintercollegiate challenge to design and build a zero-net-energy home. We’ve had our first meeting and are madly scrambling to get our application together in time. Though time is short and the odds are long, we have an amazing entry: a marketable zero-net-energy residence for migrant laborers. We hope that the Davis entry will form the basis for more sustainable housing to contribute to the Domes site, and that our experiments with green living will contribute to new opportunities, both for interdisciplinary study and for product commercialization.

To get there, we need people with an interest and expertise in design, engineering, market analysis, agricultural economics, social justice and migrant issues, and project management. A good attitude and a willingness to do good work will be a big help as well.

To join us, students should fill out the student participation form (a Google form), which tells us who you are, what you can do, and how we can reach you. Faculty or staff should fill out the faculty/staff participation form (also a Google form).

Thanks very much to all who wish to contribute!

- William Abernathy (wabernat@ucdavis.edu)

 

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UC Davis Farmers Market returned for fall

October 4th, 2013 @ 8:55 am by Camille Kirk

The following is a guest post from Jordan Galerkin, UC Davis Farmers Market Student Marketing Assistant, and junior year Community and Regional Development major:

 

UCDFMLogo

The UC Davis Farmers Market returned for fall on Wednesday, October 2nd. The market will run Wednesdays from 11:00am-1:30pm on the Silo Union Patio during the academic fall quarter. The market continues to provide fresh and healthy food options to a busy campus community.

Of course, there will be plenty of fresh produce, including a variety of fruits and vegetables, nuts, olive oil, honey, and more! This fall’s Farmers Market vendors include Cabral Family Orchards, Fruit Factory, Mt. Moriah Farms, Shoup Farms, Williamson Farms, UC Davis Student Farm, Toledo Farms, and Bullfrog Farms.

There will also be food vendors at the market with various lunch offerings. The ASUCD Coffee House will have a booth offering ‘CoHomemade’ pastries and coffee for just $1 each. Shah’s Halal Food Truck offers gyros and rice dishes, and Star Ginger Food Truck offers banh mi sandwiches and noodles. In addition, the Silo Union has several restaurant offerings.

Since 2007, the market has been a symbol of UC Davis’ commitment to sustainability and healthy lifestyles. It’s a zero-waste event, so don’t forget your reusable bag! Students can also become zero-waste volunteers at the market. Sponsors of the market include UC Dining Services, UC Davis Campus Recreations and Unions, the Davis Farmers Market Association, the Davis Food Co-op, UC Davis Student Health and Counseling Services, ASUCD Coffee House, UC Davis Stores, UC Davis Fire Department, and UC Davis Student Housing.

The UC Davis Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability – Waste Reduction team, Campus Center for the Environment, Environmental Policy and Planning Commission (EPPC), Health Education and Promotion, KDVS, Occupational Health Services, UC Davis Staff Assembly and UC Davis Student Nutrition Association are friends and supporters of the market.

To join the UC Davis Farmers Market email list for weekly reminders, specials, and updates about the market, sign up at http://eepurl.com/p0jFH.

Hope to see you at the Market next Wednesday!

 

 

 

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