1. How does Stanislaus State keep its campus green without tapping into the City of Turlock’s domestic water supply?
Stanislaus State uses the Reflecting Pond and four lakes on campus to store in excess of 12 million gallons of water. This water allows the University to maintain all the grass, plants and trees on its 228 acres without drawing from the municipal supply for irrigation. Not a single drop from the domestic supply is brought on campus for landscape irrigation purposes.
2. When driving past Stanislaus State, we notice wide swaths of green, lush turf on the athletic fields. How can the campus do this in a time of historic drought?
The University is cutting back on water use wherever possible. Athletic fields, which are a special breed of grass, not only represent an investment that must be protected, but a surface that must be meticulously maintained to ensure the safety of student-athletes and protect the spirit of fair play.
3. Even with Stanislaus State being able to store and use water already on campus for irrigation purposes, doesn’t the University still need to comply with state-mandated cutbacks in water use?
Yes, like every other CSU and UC campus, Stanislaus State must meet our state-mandated 25 percent reduction in total water use. The University continues to take steps toward meeting and exceeding the mandate and is confident in its ability to do so.
4. Is Stanislaus State taking on any new water-saving projects?
Yes, there are many, but two in particular stand out. By this fall, the water flowing into the cooling towers (the evaporative engine that cools most campus buildings) will be adding a front-end water filter. This filter will allow the University to use water from campus storage for cooling purposes instead of drawing water from the municipal supply. This move alone will save an estimated 5 million gallons of potable water per year – enough to fill the Reflecting Pond, and then some. A second ongoing project involves the installation of as many as 44 water sensors across campus. These sensors read the water content of the grass and plants in the area and wirelessly transmit that information to a main control room server, which takes the data and melds it with the current weather conditions to accurately determine how much water will be needed in that particular area of campus.
5. Are any water-saving measures obvious as you walk across campus?
Yes. Long noted for its park-like setting, Stanislaus State is embracing the concept that brown is beneficial. Large grassy areas are being allowed to turn brown in a direct water-saving measure. In addition, drought-sensitive plants are being introduced in areas of campus where either turf or thirsty plants used to reside.
6. Why do the sprinklers at Stanislaus State sometimes spray the sidewalks and streets?
Sprinklers have mechanical parts that require occasional adjustment, and since the University has one irrigation specialist to oversee several thousand sprinkler heads, it can take time to get to all of them. Also, sprinklers do not have the ability to compensate for wind direction or speed, so even moderate winds can cause irrigation water to miss the intended target. To report a broken or misdirected sprinkler on campus grounds, call Stanislaus State Facilities Services at (209) 667-3211.
7. We live off-campus. What are Turlock’s allowed residential outdoors water days?
Homes with odd-numbered addresses can water on Wednesday and Sunday, while homes with even numbers can water Tuesday and Saturday. No watering is allowed between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. on weekdays or between noon and midnight on weekends.
8. If I see water being wasted off-campus, how can I report it?
The fastest way is to call the Municipal Services Department at (209) 668-5590. You also can visit to the City of Turlock website http://ci.turlock.ca.us and type in “report water waste” in the homepage search bar.
9. We know what the University is doing to reduce water use, but what is the City of Turlock doing?
The city has put together an aggressive multi-pronged approach to meet its 32 percent water reduction target. Specific water reduction activities include: no longer watering the grass in the medians on Christoffersen Parkway and Monte Vista Avenue; reduced watering of the parks, using potable water only two days per week; and watering the trees with non-potable water. These cuts work in concert with the mandated cuts in residential water days.
10. We’re doing our part on campus, but are area farmers seeing their water allocations cut accordingly?
According to the Turlock Irrigation District, the farmers they serve are receiving 18 inches of water this year. In an average year, those same farmers would have access to 48 inches of water.
11. Even with those cuts, is it true that agriculture uses 80 percent of California’s water?
According to the California Department of Water Resources, 50.2 percent of the state’s water supply is never made available to farmers or residential users. That 50.2 percent, which in an average year is nearly 40 million acre feet, is used to manage wetlands and mandatory flows in the state’s streams, rivers and Delta region. The farmers’ allocation is 40.9 percent and the rest – 8.9 percent – goes to residential water users.