A student at the University of Texas at Austin is helping the campus to minimize the water usage by millions of gallons every year. Marwan Madi is functioning with UT’s irrigation.
Markus Hogue and water conservation program coordinator, who had been finding for a way to utilize technology to minimize water usage while still keeping campus inviting and green.
Hogue and Madi have been gathering data about the landscape around the LBJ Presidential Library over the past year and a half, which Hogue mentioned uses 20 percent of the water the university takes to irrigate the whole campus.
They use a drone attached with a distinct camera features that measure the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index or NDVI.
These measurements indicate how much chlorophyll plants are producing, which displays how healthy the plants are. The NDVI camera can discover unhealthy areas in landscapes before they become physically evident.
The information from the drone is combined with 12 moisture sensors in the ground, revealing how much water is being lost back into the air instead of being absorbed into the ground where it can be used.
The images created help the pair know which areas require more water. Now they are ready to move into the next phase where Hogue will start reducing automatic irrigation in specific areas around LBJ.
After another year, they plan to have enough data to draw conclusions about how much water they can save and still keep the grounds green. The goal of Madi is for 10 percent of water savings, indicating millions of gallons of water a year, and that is just for the LBJ land.
If they confirm gainful in reducing water use, it could benefit as a model not only for the rest of their campus but also for any institution or company that needs to minimize water consumption.
Watch a video of UT student uses drones to help campus save water: