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Fighting Drought Conditions: How Texas University Deals With Local Water Restrictions
Jay Jascott, Landscape Supervisor, Facilities Management, from the University of Texas at Dallas, discusses the way that local water restrictions affect his department's grounds care activities and operations.
Landscape Supervisor, Facilities Management
University of Texas at Dallas
1. What kind of water restrictions does your university face?
The University of Texas at Dallas tries to follow as closely as possible the City of Richardson's stage three requirements; currently one day a week. However with as large a complex as we have the window to water everything is too small.
2. How do these restrictions affect your irrigation strategy on campus?
We work with City of Richardson and they allow us variances to water on off days, but we still limit ourselves to each area a once a week watering. In turn we have paid very close attention to effectiveness of our systems.
3. What impact have the restrictions had on your department's operations and priorities, apart from irrigation?
Again we have had to take a close look at the effectiveness of our irrigation systems. This has become priority No. 1, which has made us adjust our staff to accommodate. We have moved persons from other crews to assist the irrigation crew with inspections, repairs and visual operations of systems, such as looking for run-off issues and over-watering. Also, with the increase of additional water trucks and hoses we manually water areas of high impact with little water waste.
4. How have the restrictions impacted the appearance of your landscapes?
So far this year we have been lucky with the weather, but also learning from years past of the importance of water management and how Mother Nature handled our non-irrigated areas (more deep watering and less often) and a tolerance that a little stress or discolor is not such a bad thing. We have transitioned areas of the landscape to more drought-tolerant species, which has changed the appearance in parts of the campus to a more native sort of look.
5. Do you anticipate any further water restrictions? If so, how will you cope with the new limitations?
I would hope not, but I feel that is unlikely with the climate we have today. With population increases and water continuing to be less available, I see more restrictions in the future. To cope, that will be an ever-changing process, both with the landscape and those who view the landscape. Education, along with tolerance, will be important to let people understand how precious our water is and how we use it.
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