By Marley Halter.
Early this year, the Community Garden at Auburn University (CGAU) Advisory Committee developed a 2021 Water Savings Program. As part of the program, irrigation timers were phased out of use, and garden staff planned to raise awareness of the problem of water waste, and to hold classes on various irrigation methods.
The goals of the program were: encouraging more active garden participation, strengthening relationships between community members, improving the health of soil and plants, and making the garden more sustainable overall.
Thanks to the efforts of our gardeners and staff, we have now met our goals of reducing water waste at the garden, raising awareness and teaching responsible irrigation methods, and increasing garden participation!
Water usage data from 2019-2021:
- January-October 2019, we used 768,000 gallons of water, which cost us $3,465. At the end of the year we had 79% of our garden plots in use.
- January-October 2020, we used 981,000 gallons of water, which cost us $4,422. At the end of the year we had 88% of our garden plots in use.
- January-October 2021, we used 278,000 gallons of water, which cost us $1,251. At the end of this year we have 97% of our garden plots in use.
Even though we greatly increased plot rentals and retention over the course of three years (and therefore increased the water demand), through our 2021 Water Savings Program we were able to save over 700,000 gallons of water (compared to last year) and $3,172.
Not only is this an incredible achievement towards our overall sustainability, but it also freed up more funds to go towards garden infrastructure improvements, produce donations and sales, educational programming, and all of the awesome events the CGAU hosted in 2021.
Thank you to each and every one of our gardeners for the part they played in helping the CGAU reach this goal, and for their incredible support and participation in the garden this year!
Post contributed by Marley Halter, Manager of Community Garden at AU
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