With air conditioned buildings, free water and Gatorade, the NSC is determined to keep people hydrated during Target USA CUP. The NSC also has one other responsibility— to make sure the campus is hydrated, too.
The NSC uses an irrigation system to keep all 650 acres of its campus watered properly. Despite the NSC’s enormous area, it is on a mission to conserve natural resources like water.
In fact, the NSC didn’t use a single drop of water from the city of Blaine this year. But where exactly does the NSC get its water supply from?
“All of the water we pump comes from the NSC,” said Curtiss Conkright, NSC’s Turf Superintendent. “The NSC has two wells on site. We haven’t pumped water from the well for a couple of years now.”
Excess water on NSC fields flows into creeks located throughout campus. The rain runoff then continues into three storm water retention ponds. All the irrigation water is pumped from these ponds. Newer fields on campus were constructed with slight slopes with the intention to make excess rain water run off fields easier.
During the winter, Conkright calculates the NSC’s water irrigation use for the past year and reports results to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
The DNR permits the NSC to pump 140 million gallons on an annual basis. According to Conkright, the NSC used under 60 million gallons this year—80 million gallons under its allotment. Different areas on campus have specific individual allotments that make up the 140-million-gallon allotment. For example, Victory Links Golf Course is allotted around 73 million gallons each year. This year, Victory Links used around 20 million gallons.
The NSC has a history of committing to water sustainability and keeping its consumption to a minimum. In 2015 the NSC consumed 55.5 million gallons.
The NSC utilizes a probe-like tool that it takes out to its fields, including Victory Links, to measure water content in the soil. This measurement helps staff decide if fields need to be watered or not. This tool prevents the NSC from over-pumping water.
Water sustainability isn’t the NSC’s only environmentally friendly initiative. The NSC deploys recycling bins across campus along and actively encourages staff members to clean up litter. Two electric car charging stations can be found just outside of the Welcome Center, too.
“Maximizing our sustainability on campus as much as possible is always in the back of our minds,” said Conkright.