California State University, Fresno and Facilities Management have been very proactive in the areas of sustainability, and water conservation in particular.
The University understands the importance of water as a finite resource and has been taking a leadership role in developing ways to utilize water more efficiently by establishing the International Center for Water Technology (ICWT).
In 2007, the campus reduced the amount of water used to irrigate the 380-acre academic core of campus by an estimated 33%. This was done through alternative watering schedules, repairs to failing irrigation lines and the installation of better controls. Phase II of the planned Campus Utility Infrastructure Replacement will include new water mains that will provide non-potable water to campus irrigation systems.
ICWT and CIT (Center for Irrigation Technology) were established in conjunction with the university to focus on research and development of technologies to improve water utilization. Two of the main technologies they are currently working on and using in the agricultural fields include the Central Pivot Irrigation and Smart Irrigation Controllers.
Central Pivot Irrigation System is a form of overhead sprinkler irrigation that is self-propelled and provides controllable, uniform watering of field crops. The system is also capable of being monitored by a GPS attachment. What makes this form of irrigation "green" is its ability to irrigate two to three times more area with the same amount of water!
Smart Irrigation Controllers is an emerging technology that adjusts irrigation applications based on weather and soil conditions, thus minimizing excess usage. As humidity and temperatures change, the system automatically adjusts run time to meet the calculated needs of the vegetation. The farm is currently using both sensor and signal-based controlling systems that gather information from solar panels, radio, cellular and computerized technology in order to make the appropriate adjustments.
- We have transition to a low flow sprinkler head, taking us from using 13 gallons per minute to 8 or 5 gallons per minute.
- We have installed the “AquaCents” polymer in the Bulldog Diamond berm and Peace Garden and will be installing it in the Maple Mall in the coming months. “AquaCents” is a polymer that is injected into the soil and helps retain moisture.
- 100% of orchards are watered using micro sprinklers
- 100% of vineyards and vegetable crops are watered using drip irrigation
- 25% of the horse pastures between Barstow and Bullard Avenues have micro sprinklers. This solution will also help with mosquito management.
- In the past 5 years, the UAL has reduced its water usage by over 40%.
- We are in the process of retooling our automated sprinkler systems to reduce the amount of water we use, while still maintaining the health of our turf. In the coming weeks, we will continue to reduce the amount of water used until we are at the minimum possible.
- We will expand our use of the “Barnacle” system, which allows us to electronically monitor flow in irrigation pipes to identify areas on inefficiency and overuse.
- Coordinate with CIT staff to perform a “water audit” and identify areas of improvement.
- We are aerating soil earlier than usual in order to allow maximum water permeation.
- We are changing our fertilizer blend in order to help turf thrive with less water.
- UAL is currently in the planning stages to move the field crops north of Bullard Avenue to a drip system.
- Future building projects, such as the Jordan Research Center are being dual plumbed to take advantage of using non potable water in as many places as possible.
- Grounds around new buildings will not include berms and will include local and drought tolerant plantings as outlined in the Campus Master Plan.
- The Soccer/Lacrosse stadium project will include the removal of a berm.