Keeping the flowers blooming is no bed of roses

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    By Rebecca Blake

    BYU”s grounds director may spend a portion of his workday surrounded by thousands of flowers, but keeping campus green during the drought is no bed of roses for Roy Peterman.

    As summer looms, Provo finds itself entrenched in another year of drought.

    Provo City”s official Web site recently posted an update on the drought conditions.

    “We expect that production from our spring areas will be only at 50 percent of normal as a result of the continuing drought,” the Web site stated. “Wise and responsible use of water by each of us this summer will be critical in meeting the community”s water need without imposing mandatory restrictions.”

    Peterman, grounds director since 1972, implemented a water conservation program at BYU in 1978.

    He said he adheres to the adage “waste not, want not” when it comes to water conservation.

    Conservation techniques he began at BYU nearly a quarter of a century ago are now being adopted in the industry as a whole, said Carri P. Jenkins, assistant to the president for University Communications. She said every area on campus receives exactly the right amount of water needed for its particular environment.

    These techniques have won BYU numerous awards, including an award for conservation from the Chamber of Commerce. Yet these awards do not keep Peterman sitting back in his office.

    His days usually begin at 5:30 with a jog or bike ride around campus during which he surveys the grounds and sees what areas need attention. He passes this information along to one of the many grounds crews working to keep campus in pristine shape. During the day, he meets with different crews to oversee individual projects.

    “Roy Peterman has one of the most difficult assignments on the BYU campus,” said Edwin Cozzens, assistant administrative vice president of Physical Facilities. “His diverse responsibilities affect practically every other area of campus at some point.”

    Peterman keeps current technical journals, and personal and staff research in order to maintain the integrity of water conservation efforts at BYU.

    “Roy has a vast knowledge of the grounds operation, whether it be construction, landscaping, recycling, etc.,” Cozzens said. “Other institutions have great respect for his grounds skills, and they seek his wise counsel on a variety of topics.”

    Peterman”s skills are constantly called upon to supervise projects.

    One of the largest projects Peterman oversees is the piping of the upper east union canal. That project”s impact will have a huge effect on Provo City, Peterman said. Soon, secondary water will flow through irrigation piping, saving vast amounts of water at BYU and throughout Provo.

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