Students walking to classes at Colorado State University-Pueblo often have to dodge sprinklers or wade through puddles on the sidewalks.
However, the facilities management team assures students that there are explanations for the sprinkler and water consumption issues.
According to Deborah Proctor, project planner for facilities management, it is never the intent for the sprinklers to hassle students as they walk to class.
“It is just a fact that over time certain sprinkler heads become misaligned. This can be due to a sudden surge in pressure, or if the head is hit by a lawn mower or run over by a tire or even in some cases by people having a little fun by turning the head to shoot another with the water,” Proctor said.
Students may also notice areas of the grass being watered during the hottest times of the day. Proctor explained that because the campus is so big, it would be impossible to water everything at night.
“The university is situated up on a hill, and as such has a problem with water pressure for our irrigation system. We cannot water everything at the same time through the nighttime hours, as we would like. The athletic fields must be watered at night to be playable during the day. So we do apologize that the sprinklers are on during the day,” Proctor said.
Proctor added that the irrigation system was installed prior to some of the new sidewalks on campus, and due to a tight budget the facilities team is unable to adjust some of the sprinklers. They have also looked into installing a new irrigation system that would be controlled digitally, but money remains an issue.
“The university has recently researched the new digital satellite irrigation control systems. Campus is so large that we would need multiple stations and controllers to run the entire system adequately. The cost to install such a system at the time was prohibitive,” Proctor said.
With so much focus on the sprinklers Proctor wanted to assure students and faculty that the facilities management team is doing everything in its power to limit the waste of water. It is CSU-Pueblo’s policy to implement water-wise landscaping into any construction project including buildings and roadways.
For example, the grass planted in the three new residence halls takes less water and needs to be mowed less often.
Surprisingly however, the water bill for the university is not as expensive as some of the other utility bills for the campus.
The campus electricity bill is considerably more expensive than the water bill.
The yearly cost of water usage is $354,873, while the electricity bill is $1.66 million, according to the facilities management team. The electricity bill would be 10 times higher than the water bill if the university did not utilize its solar power plant.
Proctor urges students to help reduce the waste of water by having students call the facilities department at (719)549-2211 to report faulty sprinkler heads.