Current Irrigation Practices
Plano’s Water Conservation Plan allows the City of Plano Parks and Recreation Department to operate using alternative water conservation methods. The city meets or exceeds the current North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) reduction goal by managing all sites as a whole. The scale of operation for over 4,000 acres of parkland and 1,200 irrigated acres of parks, athletic fields, and other public property requires alternative conservation methods.
Large site irrigation systems cannot water all areas within the same water window as a residential irrigation system, but they can still be programmed to conserve water. For example, one athletic site has over 500 stations, which cannot run in just one or two nights. To put this into perspective, Plano’s Russell Creek Park, below, has approximately 136 acres of irrigated turf. The red square represents an average residential yard.
While the average homeowner can apply enough water in one night to keep turf and plant material healthy, the same is not possible for most park sites. Many park sites need to irrigate multiple days per week to receive the same proportion of water due to their large acreage. Based upon Texas A&M AgriLife recommendations, the appropriate amount of water is applied to each site on an alternative schedule to keep turf and plant material healthy and sustain the heavy traffic that most of our parks receive. Furthermore, the need to irrigate play surfaces and high use areas must be balanced with scheduled activities and public use patterns. For example, parks and outdoor sports venues are typically used in the early morning or after school/work hours up to 11 p.m., so water schedules must be adjusted around these activities as well as around turf and field maintenance activities. These ever changing schedules present quite a challenge for those responsible to ensure that the play surfaces are up to City of Plano standards, while not interrupting game play.
Water Conservation Plan
The Plano Parks and Recreation Department is committed to participating in the Water Conservation Plan. Significant water reduction has the potential to damage grass, trees, trails, pavilions slabs, and other site features paid for with taxpayer dollars. The protection of these public assets using best available practices and existing irrigation systems is being done to mitigate future repair and replacement costs by the taxpayers. Residents may utilize soaker hoses, hand water, and can fully utilize the approved water windows to protect private assets such as foundations, driveways, and home landscapes. Plano’s water conservation plan allows the City of Plano Parks and Recreation Department to operate using alternative water conservation methods.
All City of Plano site irrigation systems are programmed, controlled, and monitored remotely by an advanced computerized control system. The central control system is capable of reporting and creating alarms related to most malfunctions or abnormalities. An important feature of the system is its ability to automatically shut down a malfunctioning station at the first indication of a leak or system malfunction, which generates an alarm report. All irrigation systems generating alarms are investigated as soon as possible. Problems are then resolved by irrigation service technicians prior to being returned to service.
Alternative landscape irrigation methods are also used in the community. Pecan Hollow Golf Course uses reclaimed water, and the Legacy Business Park uses private lake water supplied by wells to irrigate their respective sites, rather than treated drinking water. The large special event field near the Amphitheater at Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve may be watered using temporary above ground irrigation to insure the safety of those attending a special event or activity such as the Plano Balloon Festival in September.
We would like to thank the City of Plano residents for their concern and understanding of the large scale, multifaceted coordination of irrigation water use and conservation. We are eager to find innovative ways to sustain the parks and public land while also protecting our water supply.
Reporting Malfunctions and Problems
The public is encouraged to report malfunctions or problems. An accurate description and location of a problem helps speed the repair or resolution of the issue. For additional information, or to report a problem at a Parks and Recreation Facility, please call the Plano Parks and Recreation Department at 972-941-7263. After hours, please call 972-727-1623.