Friday, March 30, 2012

You know it's warm when ...

Posted By on Fri, Mar 30, 2012 at 12:38 PM

Ideally, the city wants to avoid more of this.
  • The city wants to avoid more of this.

Ski slopes are closing down, and here in hot, dry Colorado Springs, the parks are already being watered.

Just a reminder, in case anyone has forgotten: It's March.

Anyway, the parks are being watered partially due to the crazy weather we've been having, and partially because they were reseeded last year and need some extra TLC.

In the long run, the parks department is expecting that the parks will actually use less water. The city has been partnering with Colorado Springs Utilities for a while now on a water conservation program that's installing new, more efficient sprinkler systems in rundown parks. The hope is that once the grass recovers from underwatering for the past few years, it will take less water to maintain the sod. I wrote about the problem last year; you can link to that story here.

Read on to learn more about the recent effort:

Colorado Springs continuing effort to upgrade irrigation systems in City parks

The City of Colorado Springs Parks Maintenance Division, with funding from Colorado Springs Utilities, is continuing an on-going project to upgrade irrigation systems throughout all City parks. Since 2010, Colorado Springs Utilities has put $750,000 into upgrading the irrigation systems in 55 parks with plans to upgrade another 20 parks in 2012. These upgrades include park retrofits, rain sensors, the installation of ‘smart’ irrigation controllers, and new system installations. New sprinkler heads and controllers have shown a 20% increase in efficiency.

Every park with an irrigation system (156) now has a rain sensor. Six parks have entirely brand new, efficient systems. Over 60 water conservation audits have already been completed, and audits on all parks will be finished by the end of 2013.

“More efficient water usage leads to healthier grass that stands up better to weeds and everyday park use,” says Kurt Schroeder, Manager of Parks Operations and Development. “It creates a more beautiful park system and saves the City money on maintenance such as re-seeding costs.”

The improvements will help the City park system for years into the future and currently as the warm, dry weather has prompted Parks staff to turn on the irrigation systems approximately one month earlier than usual. Early watering is an important step to help protect the 300 acres of over-seeding done last year with one-time funding promised at Mayor Bach’s inauguration.

“The additional over-seeding that was done in 2011 was a success and the grass took well in many of our parks that needed it,” says Schroeder. “By turning our water on now, we are working to ensure that all of our parks are green and healthy this summer. Hopefully we’ll get some help from Mother Nature as well.”

The Mayor’s Parks Solutions Team has placed a high priority on water management and it is expected that recommendations regarding such will play a major part in the final report. The Solutions Team is scheduled to give a report to City Council on April 23.

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