Thursday, May 21, 2009

Correspondence Between Fresno Audubon and CSUF re: Water Use

My letter regarding decorative fountains on campus as a source of water waste(among other things):

Dear Facilities Management:
The current drought has brought the attention of many to wasteful uses of water. One such area apparent on the Fresno State campus are the decorative fountains. While said fountains are aesthetically pleasing and likely recirculate their water, much is still lost to evaporation particularly as the hot summer months are fast approaching. Other municipalities and government agencies such as the City of San Diego are considering shutting off decorative fountains in order to conserve. We ask that you do the same.

Fresno State should take the lead role in encouraging water conservation and start on its own campus. This can include turning off the fountains, watering landscapes and ag lab land at night or in the early morning rather than at midday when water is lost to evaporation, or ensuring replacement fixtures in campus buildings are the most water efficient available.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing your feedback.

Their response, which at first blush seems like "We've done enough.":

Mr. Hill,

I received your email calling on Fresno State to take more of a leadership roll in water conservation. Fresno State has been very proactive in the areas of sustainability and conservation of resources. The Lot V solar project is just a recent example of such efforts. This University also understands the importance of water as a finite resource and has taken a significant leadership roll in developing ways to utilize water more efficiently by establishing the International Center for Water Technology.

Grounds Manager, Ryan McCaughey, and Farm Director, Dr. Ganesan Srinivasan take water conservation very seriously. Both are fairly new to the Campus and both immediately began working on this issue. Ryan reports that the Campus reduced the amount of water used to irrigate the 380 acre academic core of campus last year by an estimated 33%. This was achieved through alternative watering schedules, repairing failing irrigation lines and installing better controls. The farm is also implementing better watering practices to not only conserve water, but also to eliminate breeding grounds for mosquitoes and to reduce the financial costs related to overwatering.

We at Fresno State understand that water is a very valuable resource that requires responsible stewardship. We are always looking for ways to make headway on this and other conservation issues. Recently, the Campus created the Office of Sustainability. Assistant Vice President, David Moll is its director. Feel free to contact him if you should have any questions, concerns or suggestions regarding sustainability issues and efforts.

Thank you for taking the time to write and share your suggestions and views.


Rick Finden

Associate Director of Plant Operations

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