Drought Response Plan

UNLV as a government agency and as a center point in the community has a commitment to the conservation of water in Southern Nevada. Being a state agency, we are submitting this Drought Response Plan to the State of Nevada Division of Water Resources following the guidelines imposed by the Clark County Environmental Planning Division and the Las Vegas Valley Water District.


Please forward any questions regarding this plan to:

Beau Barnett
UNLV/Facilities Management
Landscape and Grounds

A. Water Use Reduction Statement

In September 2003 UNLV committed to reducing landscape water use by 25% by the year 2010. With overhead irrigation of turf areas being the primary use of water, UNLV has not only met but exceeded this goal through conversion of turf areas to xeriscape.

The following conversions are on record with the Southern Nevada Water Authority as Water Smart Landscapes:

Water Smart Landscapes
Date Landscape Size
06/02/03 Football Practice Field Entry 5,865 sq. ft.
07/23/03 East of White Hall 1,236 sq. ft.
11/13/03 Old Boy Scout Property 10,067 sq. ft.
09/17/04 Desert Complex Classrooms 10,538 sq. ft.
10/22/04 Shadow Lane Campus 59,634 sq. ft.
11/17/04 Shadow Lane Campus 22,568 sq. ft.
06/17/05 Wright Hall Renovation 12,119 sq. ft.
06/17/05 Computing Center South of BSL 2,190 sq. ft.
06/30/06 Adjacent to New Student Union 4,407 sq. ft.
08/23/06 Reflecting Pool North West of HFA 3,214 sq. ft.
08/22/07 Picnic area at EPA 1,302 sq. ft.
10/18/07 North of Beam Music Center 50,037 sq. ft.
04/04/08 East of Beam Music Center 9,987 sq. ft.
06/19/08 Swenson Corridor 118,208 sq. ft.
06/19/08 Slope south of Ham Concert Hall 2,102 sq. ft.
07/21/08 Houssels House 7,213 sq. ft.
10/17/08 Parking lot Brussels and Tropicana 13,593 sq. ft.
11/19/08 East side of Track Field 13,405 sq. ft.
12/24/08 EPA Facility 121,121 sq. ft.
03/09/09 Frasier Hall 925 sq. ft.
05/09/09 Boxing Slope 82,100 sq. ft.

On record as Water Efficient Technologies with Southern Nevada Water Authority are the following:

Water Efficient Technologies
Date Landscape Size
01/29/03 UNLV Football Practice Field 161,640 sq. ft.
08/02/04 Sam Boyd Stadium 90,165 sq. ft.

This brings a total 803,636 sq. ft. of turf removed from the UNLV Campus on record with the SNWA.

In addition to what is on record with the Southern Nevada Water Authority, UNLV has other areas in which turf conversion or removal has taken place. In 1988, UNLV installed the xeriscape garden east of the Harry Reid Center/Marjory Barrick Museum: this was a conversion of 42,476 sq. ft. In 1995, the east area of Humanities was converted (6,888 sq. ft.) This was one of the first studies on conversion in conjunction with the Las Vegas Valley Water District to meter actual water use savings regarding turf conversion to xeriscape. In 1997 the area south of Judy Bailey Theater was converted (12,660 sq. ft.)

In 2003 the lawn north of the dormitories was removed; it is now a parking lot bordered by a xeriscaped area (48,750 sq. ft.) In 2002 and 2003, the Central Desert Complex was built; 90,450 sq. ft. of turf was removed. In 2011, CEB old preschool (Phase I) was converted to xeriscape (14,400 sq. ft.) In 2012, CEB valley (Phase II) was converted to xeriscape (23,000 sq. ft.)

The above cited areas provide an additional 238,224 sq. ft. of turf removed. This plus the turf conversions on record with the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s recorded 803,636 sq. ft. bring to total 1,004,860 sq. ft. of turf removed from UNLV grounds. Utilizing the formula provided by the Southern Nevada Water Authority, 55 gallons per square foot of water is saved annually in the Water Smart Landscape field and 123.45 gallons is saved annually in the Water Efficient Technologies field. UNLV is conserving over 74 million gallons of water per year due to turf removal.

With 1,896,743 estimated sq. ft. of turf remaining on campus, UNLV has exceeded it goal of a 25% reduction in outdoor water use and will continue to follow this pattern of conservation in the future. Currently in consideration is the removal of the lawn area southwest of Carlson Education with other areas to follow depending upon funding and manpower.

B. Sites Covered By Drought Response Plan

The main campus located at 4505 South Maryland Parkway, which consists of 337 acres of various types of landscaped areas that will be covered by the Drought Response Plan.

C. Central Control System Standards

UNLV's standard controller is the Rainbird ESP SAT. It has various programming capabilities enabling custom programming that includes odd-even day programming, cycle/soak capabilities, and multiple start times. This unit is tied into a computerized unit named Rainbird Cluster Control Unit, which through phone line is connected to our central computer that runs the Rainbird Maxicom program. This enables such programming as automatic shutdown with the use of flow sensor, decoders, and also automatic irrigation adjustment through Evapotranspiration database, which is linked into UNLV's weather station for automatic irrigation adjustment due to changes in weather.

D. Metering

UNLV Athletic Fields are sub metered.

E. Documentation of Baseline Water Consumption

UNLV's water use for fiscal year 2002-2003
Area Volume
Houssel House 903 Kgal
Arch Annex 219 Kgal
University Hall 367 Kgal
Flamingo and Swenson 996 Kgal
Maryland Parkway and Cottage Grove 223 Kgal
Harmon and Maryland Parkway 282,538 Kgal
Architecture Building 3,032 Kgal
Paradise Campus 13,385 Kgal
Eller Media Softball Stadium 3,243 Kgal
Total 304,906 Kgal

F. Irrigation System Efficiency and Turf Reduction

UNLV's irrigation systems in turfed areas are designed to provide maximum coverage with minimal runoff. Cycle/soak programming is often used where runoff may occur. Continual adjustments are made to ensure irrigation heads are adjusted in such a manner as to prevent the spray from going off the turf. Subsurface or drip irrigation systems are used in non-turf areas with the required amount of emitters placed for plant use. Turf reduction has been covered in Section A.

G. Employee Training

Our entire grounds department has been made aware of the drought situation any irrigation watering outside of the implemented schedules will immediately be reported to the irrigation or grounds supervisor for correction, and the crews are trained to make immediate repairs on any broken or malfunctioning irrigation component the irrigation crew members have reached various levels of training through the irrigation association courses, as well as courses obtained through rainbird irrigation. Some of these classes are irrigation auditing, electrical troubleshooting, water management, and irrigation design.

H. Reporting

Any variation of the implemented schedule, due to events being held or over seeding of areas on the assigned watering days will be reported to the Las Vegas Valley Water Conservation Division for review and rescheduling.

I. New Landscape Development

All new landscape will be designed in such a manner that will be aesthetically pleasing as well as water conscience. In regards to future installations, this subject was covered in detail in Section A.

J. Public Education

Signage is posted throughout campus in compliance with the guidelines imposed, indicating where UNLV's drought plan and watering schedule can be found. This information is also being made public here, on UNLV's Landscape and Grounds website.

Download the UNLV Campus Plan Irrigation Zones (PDF)](self-titled PDF in folder)

K. Demonstrates a Need Based on Public Usability of the Facility

UNLV, being a state university with over 25,000 students attending, has a wide range of public uses, which include walk-a-thons, presidential speeches, numerous sporting events, as well as a variety of campus-sponsored events. The public and various entities throughout Clark County are continually using the grounds of UNLV.