Irrigation Control

Materials Site Water

Purdue University has in place a number of technologies, measures, and initiatives to ensure that its use of water for on-campus irrigation is controlled and recycled, as much as possible.

In particular, three measures stand out.

Targeted Irrigation

Purdue uses new irrigation heads that come in a variety of angles to better target areas needing water, as opposed to older heads that come in just forty-five- and ninety-degree angles. Purdue uses thirty-degree nozzles to cover target areas, which wastes less water on sidewalks and other surfaces that do not require water. The irrigation heads also keep water from drifting, since they produce droplets of water instead of a steady stream that might drift from targeted areas. These measures, combined with a much better selection of nozzles for corners of the sidewalks and other impervious areas, ensure that the the system delivers a maximum amount of water to the proper areas.

Irrigation Timers

Since the 1970s, Purdue University’s Grounds and Maintenance department has integrated clocks with the irrigation systems for better control. In the early 2000s, Grounds and Maintenance began using smart clocks, soil probes, and rain gauges to even more precisely control and conserve water. The department is responsible for over 1.9 million square feet of turf and over 680,000 square feet of shrub and flowerbeds. The irrigation systems on campus contain 67 control units and over 600 in-ground control valves, as well as more than 10,000 irrigation heads.

Central Irrigation Control System

Purdue previously managed 67 independent irrigation systems with on-site control units. The new Central Irrigation Control system allows us to conserve 18 million gallons of water annually by monitoring the weather and soil conditions and only calling for irrigation when needed to sustain turf and plant life. The system also saves labor expenses by alerting us to irrigation leak locations and allowing all irrigation systems to be controlled from one computer at our maintenance facility and/or a laptop in the field. Purdue completed this project ahead of schedule and under budget.