North Texas Daily

Campus irrigation shouldn’t spell wasted water

Campus irrigation shouldn’t spell wasted water

October 17
23:15 2012

If you’ve spent any period of time on campus, you’ve likely noticed the “Irrigation in Progress” signs posted around the perimeter of various green plots of land beside buildings and walkways.

If you’ve seen the signs, you’ve also seen the stagnant pools of water stranded among the patches of green and stretches of concrete, the soaked sidewalks and the dripping exteriors of buildings like Wooten Hall. But what is really being “irrigated,” and more importantly, how is it benefiting the campus?

It seems like the process is in place for university beautification and nothing more. Since UNT strives to be noticed as a green university, wasting water is not just a step in the wrong direction – it’s an entire stride away.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitoring system, more than 76 percent of the United States is currently experiencing some level of drought, with most of Texas in a stage considered “moderate to severe.”

But at UNT irrigation continues, and sprinklers still irrigate even during the height of the day. On Sept. 17, a broken sprinkler head created a makeshift fountain for students to enjoy outside the western entrance of Wooten Hall, and it continued for almost a week.

AmLee Innovations, a Fort Worth company that created the GeiserMiser – an automatic shutoff valve to stop broken sprinklers from wasting water – estimates that a broken sprinkler head wastes between 200 and 500 gallons per cycle.

The water used in UNT’s irrigation process isn’t even greywater – water collected from runoff from a shower, sink or washing machine. Ninety-five percent of water used for UNT’s irrigation is provided by the city. If you live in Denton you’re under water restriction, but those restrictions must not apply to UNT because irrigation continues.

Using any resource excessively is a wasteful use of that resource. So should UNT simply stop trying to provide an aesthetically appealing campus to students and switch to a desert landscape to conserve greywater?

That’s a bit extreme – but the maintenance, proper focus and wise use of sprinkler systems and other irrigation are critical if UNT really wants to stay green. UNT must address these issues, and all students are responsible for holding the university accountable for doing so. If you see any instances of waste, contact the Office of Sustainability at 940-369-8304, and do your part in making UNT green.

Alison Eldridge is a journalism senior. She can be reached at

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