AUBURN, Ala. – In light of the water conservation measures taken by the City of Auburn, Auburn University is now under water conservation measures.
- Reduced irrigation across campus. Turf irrigation on campus will be reduced by 50%, or it will be eliminated altogether. Falls color irrigation will be reduced by 33% or hand-watered. Irrigation on remaining summer annual color will be eliminated.
- Irrigation on housing and fraternity properties and at the East Glenn Administrative complex will be reduced.
- Athletic and rec fields will see reduced irrigation at the end of the season.
- Vehicle washing will be discontinued.
- Paved services except for health concerns will see pressure washing discontinued.
- Routine cooling tower preventative maintenance at chilled water plants will be rescheduled (requires draining and refilling of cooling tower basins.
- The university will continue to aggressively identify and correct water leaks using the university’s automotive automatic meter reading system. For the past three years, department of utilities and energy for the university has had great success identifying and correcting leaks and identifying items such as stuck toilet valves.
The university said it will continue to find ways to conserve water across campus organizations.
Professor in the department of horticulture, Gary Keever said during a drought, we all should bear some of the burden of the drought.
“We’re fortunate that even though we’re in a drought period, this time of year, the water demands have dropped off because the shorter days, temperatures are dropping,” Keever said. “If this had been July, reducing irrigation by a third or even half would have dramatic effects on the campus plantings.”
In regards to the fire-damaged Toomer’s Oak, Keever said the drought has had minimal impact on the tree. The tree has been in the ground for 1.5, but Keever said it did not fully establish itself in the ground.
The university keeps the tree hydrated with irrigation at the base of the tree, and one at the top of the tree for the surrounding turf. Keever said the irrigation takes place Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday hourly for 15 minutes, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“Because there is so little foliage on this tree behind me, the transpiration or the loss of water from its foliage is very minimal,” Keever said. “Even if we reduced it by 50 percent, I don’t think that it would impose any drought stress on the tree.”
Keever added that if the tree survives the winter months, it could take 5 to 10 years for the canopy to look the way it did prior to the fire in September.