Camp Long is among the parks affected by the Seattle Parks and Recreation Pilot program designed to save water and money from June through September. The program calls for reduced watering in some parks and the cessation in others.
Pilot water-saving project will start in Seattle Parks
Irrigation will be curtailed or stopped for certain park properties to save water and money
Seattle Parks and Recreation is in the process of creating a strategy to reduce water usage and costs while maintaining the health of Parks’ living assets with a pilot program to limit park irrigation in some, and cease watering in other parks with less use. The plan under consideration would be in place from June through September of this year. The results would be evaluated next winter to determine future implementation.
“Our crews are excited about being able to make a tangible contribution to our water conservation efforts,” said Acting Parks Superintendent Christopher Williams. “It’s also an opportunity to learn what may happen during drought conditions and to validate the assumptions in our drought contingency plan.”
It costs $1.25 million each year to irrigate 300 of Seattle’s 430-plus parks. Of these, about 100 have their water use regulated by a state of the art, computerized irrigation system that measures how much water is needed at any given time and turns irrigation on and off at precise times.
In a water consumption study over the past five years, landscape irrigation priorities were examined in order to plan for a potential drought. Those results suggested that a plan for testing Parks’ ability to cut water consumption without damaging the living assets was possible.
Horticulturists and professional gardeners will experiment with drought tolerance for certain plant species.
Park sites for the pilot project fall into one of three categories:
Irrigation is automatically turned off; irrigation is automatically reduced; or manual watering will stop or take place less frequently. Parks staff will monitor the landscapes for health and adapt if needed.
During the project the public will see some brown grass and some park shrub beds not watered as often as before; crews watering earlier in the day and less frequently at parks not controlled by the automatic system.
Priority for normal watering will go to athletic fields, specialty gardens, picnic shelters, and newly planted landscapes. Golf course irrigation is managed separately.
Criteria for evaluating the success of the program will include how the plants fared, how the public reacts, and how much water and money were saved. Parks will have this information when bills come in for the pilot period.
If the pilot is successful, Parks may continue it, rotating sites so as not to put too much stress on a given site.
Parks plans to reduce water in varying amounts.
The parks set for reduced water use in West Seattle are:
- Alki Beach Park
- Alki Playground
- Seacrest Park
- Walt Hundley Playfield
- Westcrest Park (incl. W. Sea. Res.)
- Don Armeni Park
- Roxhill Park
- Hamilton Viewpoint
- Emma Schmitz Overlook
- Hiawatha Playfield
- Cottage Grove Park
- Southwest CC/Pool
- Camp Long
The ones that will have water turned off are:
- Belvedere Park
- Fauntleroy Place
- Greg Davis Park
- Lowman Beach Park
- Solstice Park