December 5, 2007
07-176

Jennifer Tanner
Communications Specialist

VSU Complies with Governor’s Drought Restrictions

VALDOSTA - With drought conditions in the state worsening, Valdosta State University continues to follow regulations outlined by Governor Sonny Perdue’s executive order, issued on Oct. 20, which declares a “Drought Response Level Two” for South Georgia.

While most of VSU’s irrigation water comes from wells, university administrators have chosen to adopt many “good neighbor” habits in water management. The Governor’s executive order calls for irrigation to be restricted to designated days between midnight and 10 a.m. Water only runs during daytime hours during system maintenance or fertilizer applications. This is allowed under the level two drought response, but Plant Operations has made an effort to accomplish these tasks, as well as hand watering for flower beds, before 10 a.m. In addition, all pressure washing and washing of vehicles has ceased until future notice.

Sports turf and large flowerpots around campus now have soil humectants, which aid in moisture retention. According to Monty Griffin, Assistant Director for Landscape and Grounds, his team has cut back water for these areas by 50 percent.

Due to drought restrictions, VSU has postponed landscaping additions until the Governor rescinds the executive order. Visitors and community members will notice several flowerbeds hold signs, which explain that VSU complies with state guidelines for water use. Plants and flowers will not be replanted if they die for any reason and the new fence along North Patterson Street will not be landscaped until further notice. VSU is also looking into new options for the upcoming capital projects, such as Hopper Hall and the new health center, which may be accented by stronger native plants with low moisture requirements.

Valdosta State’s campus is known for its beauty and lush landscaping, which Griffin attributes to continuous water conservation efforts.

“I believe the reason we have not seen dramatic declines in the vigor of our campus plant materials is due to our history of practicing responsible water management,” Griffin said. “We have allowed our plant materials to establish themselves in an environment that promotes health and vigor.”

Griffin also said that the drought has had a positive effect, in that his team plans to continue looking for new ways to manage outdoor water use.

“We are being forced to look at alternatives in technology, management practices and plant selection that may ensure a more responsible future,” he said.

To further aid in water conservation efforts, VSU encourages faculty, staff and students to contact Work Management to report any situations where they might observe conservation problems, especially leaky faucets or broken water lines. For more information on water conservation, go to www.conservewatergeorgia.net .