Land & Water Use

Greenhouse Bioremediation Wetlands

Irrigation Water

Heron in Water Conservation Garden

Water Conservation Garden Information

The Water Conservation Demonstration Garden is part of the Wetlands Project on the east side of the University Greenhouses and serves as a working demonstration of both the remediation of waste water from a commercial use and the use of the reclaimed water in a water conserving landscape.

The University Greenhouses on the Colorado State University Main Campus include 27,000 square feet of new growing area for research. Irrigation water that is not directly used in the production and cultivation of plants in the University Greenhouses runs into a series of floor drains and is discharged to the east of the Greenhouse. This run-off water, which can be discharged at rates as much as 1,000 gallons per day, contains fertilizer and fungicide residue not appropriate to discharge into either the storm or sanitary system.

The remediation of the irrigation waste water is being accomplished by a series of biological treatments constructed on an 11,000 square foot site immediately east of the Greenhouse. The three stages of the remediation include an 800 square foot bog, 1,000 square foot pond with a re-circulating water feature and a bioretention trench. Water which has been "cleaned" through the bog and pond treatments will be applied via a drip irrigation system to a water conservation demonstration garden.

The initial phase of the project was constructed in the spring and summer of 2003 with equipment and funding provided by Colorado State University Facilities Management, and design and labor provided by undergraduate students in the Landscape Design and Construction program.

Colorado Canyon

Colorado Canyon

The Colorado Canyon, located in between the Engineering Buildings and the north end of the Lory Student Center, is an example of landscaping with water conservation in mind. Plants whose natural requirements are appropriate to the local environment are emphasized.


Autoclaves are devices that use steam to sterilize equipment. In order to reduce the amount of water used, Colorado State installed 41 water-saver kits, which monitor the temperature of the drain line and only inject cold water when needed. These devices are anticipated to save the University over $61,000 and conserve more than seventeen million gallons of water per year.

Refrigeration Equipment

In many of the housing units on campus, the refrigeration equipment used for walk-in coolers in the kitchen was cooled with tap water that was then sent down the drain. Many of these systems were converted to air-cooled compressors and have saved the University over 17.5 million gallons of water and $62,000 each year.


Approximately 95% of Colorado State University's irrigation water is raw water, rather than water treated to human drinking standards. The annual cost avoidance by not using treated tap water is about $420,000. A computerized irrigation control system allows sprinkler schedules to be set from a centralized location - this helps prevent over-watering and thus, conserves water.

Recycled Mulch

Tree prunings are chipped and then recycled into mulch. In an average year, this produces approximately 2,000 cubic yards of mulch.

Outdoor Pest Control

Wherever possible, the preferred method for use is biological controls or natural substances for controlling pests, plant diseases, and weeds on campus.