Augsburg wastes water despite green initiative


The university’s campus looks greener than ever with grass around the new building. But is our campus environmentally “greener?” As a campus claiming to value its environmental impact and its carbon footprint, I wonder if we are really doing all we can to lower our water waste. Our school has invested large sums of money into compost bins, leak-free faucets and water bottle fill stations. We are using these methods to be a greener campus.

However, we have much more progress to make. On countless occasions walking home from work or walking to work in the dead of night, I look around the Augsburg campus and see the large number of sprinklers running. If those sprinklers were running while it was not raining, I may have a different opinion. However, I have walked in the pouring rain and have noticed that we were irrigating our lawn amidst the rain. Augsburg is using unnecessary water when it had rained just hours before or while it was currently raining. Most times when I see sprinklers run, the grass is so saturated that a lot runs off into the streets and consequently into the Mississippi River. Water, at this point, is wasted and is not helping the lawns on campus at all. Over-watering can in fact be harmful to many grass varieties.

I have also seen broken sprinklers in our system that spout water uncontrollably and have yet to be fixed. Arguably, I should report this, but why is this watering necessary in the first place? We could perhaps coordinate the sprinkler system to the soil’s dryness rather than simply placing the sprinkler system on a timer. In addition to the sprinklers watering in ridiculous volumes, the sprinklers also run when the sun is high in the sky, and this makes the system much less effective.

When a majority of the water is evaporated rather than watering the grass, why are we bothering to even water during odd hours? Additionally, the sprinklers near the sidewalk water the sidewalk more than the grass in some places, and this again is pushing more water towards drainage systems than to the grass itself.

To be a greener campus we need to consider how we use our resources, especially water. I propose that we explore this problem further. So much water could be conserved by using lower quantities, being more conscious of when we water the grass and by considering the weather. By taking these actions, we would be one step closer to becoming the green campus we strive to be.  

This article first appeared in the Friday, October 20, 2017, Edition of The Echo.