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SWT begins irrigation audits to save water

Date of release: 05/11/01

SAN MARCOS, TEXAS — SWT has begun a program of systematic campuswide irrigation audits designed to further promote water conservation and more efficient use of water resources.

At regular intervals, SWT grounds maintenance personnel will test sprinkler systems at different campus locations using water catch-cans placed in grid patterns.

“These tests will give us an overall picture of how efficient each particular irrigation system is, and allow us to make necessary modifications,” said Brad Smith, director of grounds operations at SWT.

Data gathered from the audits is fed into a computer program that can, when used in conjunction with evapotranspiration data for this region, help SWT workers determine ideal watering schedules. The Edwards Aquifer Authority has asked water suppliers to develop a set of ““best management practices,” and Smith said the irrigation audits are one response to that request.

In addition, SWT is expanding its use of xeriscaping, a landscaping practice that relies on native or well adapted plants that require less water and pesticides. The irrigation audits will require the operation of some sprinkler systems during daylight hours in the summer, but Smith said signs will be posted at audit locations to inform the public that an audit is in progress.

“In the long run, this will help protect our valuable water resources,” he said.