Plano’s water conservation plan allows the City of Plano Parks and Recreation Department and Plano Independent School District to operate with a variance. The School District will exceed the current NTMWD reduction goal by managing all sites and campuses as a whole. Some irrigated areas will be reduced well beyond the current goal to offset watering at high use sites that have safety implications. The scale of operation for over 4,000 acres of parkland and 1,200 irrigated acres of park land, athletic fields, and other public property, requires alternative conservation methods. Large site irrigation systems cannot water all stations in the system within the same water window as a residential lawn, but they can still be programmed to apply less water than when in non-drought conditions. One athletic site has over 500 stations, which cannot all be run in one or two nights. The need to water play surfaces and high use areas must also be balanced with scheduled activities and public use patterns.
Parks and outdoor sports venues are typically used in the early morning or after school/work hours up to 11 p.m., so watering schedules must be adjusted accordingly. Irrigation in scheduled or high use areas is necessary for the safety of the users. Cracks in the ground or injuries caused by falling on a very hard surface are thereby reduced.