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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State reduces water through system improvements

Dave Daley, University Farm administrator and associate dean

As California’s drought worsens, Chico State has taken further steps to reduce the amount of water used around campus and all facilities.

Over the summer, the school’s Facilities Management and Services department implemented a central control system that will better allow for oversight of the watering of plants and athletic fields.

As of now, the system is in control of six major grass areas on and around campus, said Michael Alonzo, the supervisor of grounds and landscape services.


As soon as next week, five more will be added to the system, Alonzo said. This will give the department control of more than 60 percent of the water dispersed on campus by simply logging into a computer.

The University Farm is another place that worked hard to conserve water.

“We made it this year,” said farm administrator David Daley.

The farm increased irrigation efficiency by re-leveling many of the grounds on the site as well as letting some of their ground fallow, Daley said in an email.

Fallowing is the practice of plowing and tilling the land but planting no seeds for that season.

“Water conservation is key no matter where you live,” said Alonzo. “It’s good that we have already been on top of it.”

Chico State decreased it’s water usage by more than 15 percent since 2012, according to the FMS website.

“We’ve reduced the amount of times we run the sprinklers on campus from five times a week to maybe two or three,” said Alonzo. “Not only the amount, but the duration each time we do it.”

Another benefit of the new system is that it automatically connects to weather services and determines how much water the campus needs based on that information. It also alerts the department whenever there is a rupture in the irrigation system.

Robert Engels can be reached at [email protected] or @sullayyy on Twitter.

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