Tens of thousands of visitors to our parks expect to find healthy turf for play and trees for shade. Using water efficiently means we keep our trees and turf healthy while preventing leaks and overuse. This not only saves water, it saves money. We've turned to technology for help. Utilizing proven water efficiency technology and management, we've kept our water use the same over the past ten years despite adding hundreds of acres of new turf areas.
We are using capital improvement dollars to replace old irrigation systems with new, more efficient ones. We've also turned our parks into a large laboratory to test the effectiveness of the newest technologies.
Here's a sample of some of the technologies we're using to improve our water efficiency:
We installed a device called the Aquatron, pictured at right, to our irrigation system at Maryvale Baseball Park. The Aquatron uses proprietary technology to energize water as it passes through the pipes before heading out to sprinkler heads. Grass can absorb this treated water more efficiently, which has allowed us to reduce our watering by 30 percent and still maintain high quality turf. The money we've saved with the reduced water allowed us to cover the cost of the unit in just 18 months.
We are installing flow sensors to irrigation systems when we build new parks and renovate systems at existing parks. Flow sensors monitor water pressure and shut down the system when pressure drops because of a leak or clog, potentially saving thousands of gallons of water. These are at work at a number of facilities, including the 20 soccer fields at the city's Reach 11 Sports Complex, where water efficiency is at 90%.
We've installed weather gauges (ET Gage pictured at right) at a number of facilities, including Steele Indian School Park, Maryvale, various golf courses, and Margaret T. Hance Park. The device measures heat and humidity to determine evaporation rates for grass, shrubs and trees. This allows us to reduce watering when high humidity reduces evaporation.
We also use sound everyday maintenance practices to keep our sprinkler systems operating efficiently to ensure our turf is healthy and able to utilize water. The cups you see in the picture to the bottom right are part of a routine test staff conducts to ensure all areas are being watered evenly.
We also maintain our turf so it can utilize water efficiently. We routinely aerate our turf areas to break up compacted ground so water and fertilizer can more quickly reach grass and tree roots.