Editorial: Sprinkler problem needs proactive solution

Esteban Diaz | Editorial Cartoonist
Esteban Diaz | Editorial Cartoonist

Playing in the sprinklers isn’t always so easy to avoid at Baylor, where plants and sidewalks alike are soaked on a routine basis.

Students have complained about the wasteful sprinkler system semester after semester, but the problems have remained.

The university says it is trying to take action, though, through a plan implemented by the sustainability department and grounds department. The plan asks students to email photos of sprinkler issues across campus to Smith Getterman, sustainability coordinator, at Smith_Getterman@baylor.edu or tweet the photos to Baylor’s sustainability Twitter feed, osogreen, so that they can be fixed.

But if the university was really serious about addressing the issue, students should have been made better aware of the new plan when it began. In order to truly get students involved, the plan needs to be better advertised.

The university’s social media, let alone simple posters and fliers, would have gone a long way in spreading the word.

Since implementing the plan in the spring, about 15 photo alerts have been sent it in to the university — a number much smaller than should be expected from a university so large.

Time will tell if sending in such alerts actually catches on and whether they actually lead to significant improvements.

But in the meantime, students, get out your phones and start sending in those pictures. We’ve finally been presented with a way to help in fixing this problem — we should take advantage of that.

If the plan actually makes a difference, Baylor will be taking a step in the right direction regarding water conservation — something that should have been done a long time ago if the university truly wants to practice what it preaches.

However, it’s hard to believe that Baylor really needs students to report the issues for the university to be more efficient in making repairs. The university should be frank about the issue.

It’s not difficult to find the problem sprinkler heads. If students are walking on campus at the appropriate times, it won’t take long to spot the wet sidewalks and bicycles that are often drenched by the sprinklers. Students might even have to dodge the spray.

That said, it’s easy to see where the university’s lone full-time irrigator might have trouble keeping up with our thousands of sprinklers and miles of irrigation line. Don Bagby, director of facilities management, told the Lariat more contractors can be hired to address frequent problems. Given the duration of the sprinkler problem, Baylor should consider this solution in addition to the university’s new plan, if it hasn’t already.

This is a recurring problem that needs to be addressed. We hope to see the new plan take off, but of course that can only happen if students know how to help and actually do so, with the university following through by fixing the sprinklers.