The land owned by Cal Poly consists of six ranches and the main campus, a total of 6,000 acres. These sites sit on the San Luis Obispo Creek and Chorro Creek Watershed. Habitats include agriculture, range, riparian, urban, wetland and aquatic. Water resources provide for them are streams, reservoirs, springs, ponds, wetlands, wells, and storage tank facilities.
Inventory of campus waters
The reservoir system started at 1966. Cal Poly obtained rights to 1,200 acre feet of water from Whale Rock Reservoir, about 449 acre-feet are used for annual agricultural purposes. Excess water is allowed to flow via a drainage canal to Nelson Reservoir where it is stored and used for vineyards, cattle and sheep production, and recharge of the Stenner Creek aquifer. The ground water system, which the majority of Cal Poly lies within, is the San Luis Obispo Creek Basin. The basin is eighteen square miles and is drained by San Luis Obispo Creek. The ground water is hard and high in chlorides, sulfates, iron and other minerals. These concentrations occasionally exceed EPA Drinking Water Standards. Other than surface and ground water, irrigation well and wastewater ponds provide opportunity for irrigation.
Efforts are made to prevent or limit water pollution
on campus. The Point Source Pollution Prevention Program targets the dairy,
swine and beef units, etc. and confines the animal and manure areas. Wastewaters
from these units are regulated with the wastewater retention ponds, one
of which facilitates methane recovery to produce electricity. Within the
Dairy Unit, accumulated wastewater is re-circulated for wash down of the
facility. Nonpoint Source Pollution Prevention Program focuses on the
major land use areas that have potential to impair or threaten water quality,
such as the agriculture land management and urban development and runoff.
This program also identifies measures for protecting wetland and riparian
areas to minimize contribution to nonpoint source pollution. For agriculture
land, regulations include pesticide management, confining animal areas,
irrigation and grazing. For Urban area of the main campus, the program
targets runoff from impermeable surfaces, onsite septic systems, and wetland/riparian
area. The Storm Water Pollution Prevention Program provides storm water
management for some of the developed and rural portions of the main campus.
This program proposes BMPs for construction activities and road maintenance,
and discusses storm water monitoring