The Arizona Desert Lamp

But it’s such pretty waste!

Posted in Campus by Evan Lisull on 13 February 2009

Fountain, Old MainDuring the lead-in to the budget cuts, it wasn’t that uncommon to hear (reasonable) grumbling about the school’s continued spending on the meticulous watering of plants. “If they’re so concerned about budget cuts,” the complaint went, “then why don’t they turn off the hoses?” It took a twisting of the arm from the legislature, but this sentiment has finally reached the UA bureaucracy. From the Daily Star:

University of Arizona officials have turned off the institution’s 13 fountains and won’t be replanting flowers and grass on the Mall this year to cut down on maintenance costs associated with the upkeep of the grounds on campus, according to a memo from Joel Valdez, UA’s vice president for business affairs.

The changes will last indefinitely.

It’s very easy to underestimate the natural beauty of the region; as a Northerner by birth, I’m still amazed by many of the bizarre cacti on campus. There’s no reason to import petunias when you can appreciate the smell of the mesquite trees, and there’s no reason whatsoever to run the fountains.

Meanwhile, I see that the UA’s Water Resources Research Center is hosting a conference on “Best Practices for Stakeholder Engagement in Water Resources Planning.” Somehow, I don’t think that running 13 fountains and multiple flower hoses in the middle of the Sonoran Desert is one of them.

Image courtesy of Flickr user brdavids

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