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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor

SUBJECT: Watch us save water AND provide great summer water recreation!

5/8/2013  5:25:00 PM

Watch us save water AND provide great summer water recreation!

Turning the Water on May 25
In ongoing efforts to balance Parks’ wonderful recreational experiences with sustainable water resource management, our decorative fountains, and sprayparks will operate in 2013 from Saturday, May 25, the first day of Memorial Day weekend, to Labor Day weekend. If the weather is good, Parks may extend the season for decorative fountains and sprayparks to September 15.

Specific daily openings for the wading pools will begin on June 22 and they will operate on sunny days when the temperature is forecast to be 70 degrees or higher. The wading pool hotline, updated each summer day by 9:30 a.m., is 206-684-7796.

Seattle Parks and Recreation offers several types of water features: decorative fountains, interactive fountains, and sprayparks.

There are interactive fountains at Ballard Commons Park, Lake Union Park and Miller Community Center.

There are decorative fountains at Cal Anderson Park, Freeway Park (Legion, Canyon, Pigott and 6th and Seneca fountains), Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park, Westlake Park, Tilikum Place, and Waterfront Park.

Parks now offers sprayparks at Jefferson Park’s Beacon Mountain, Georgetown Playfield, John C. Little, Sr. Park, Lower Judkins Park, Northacres Park, Pratt Park, and Highland Park (opening later this spring).

Irrigation Reduction Study
In the summer of 2012, Parks conducted a focused irrigation reduction study to assess the impacts of a significant voluntary reduction in terms of financial savings, landscape health, water reduction and public response. Low priority irrigation areas such as informal lawns and well-established shrubs were targeted for reduction in about 150 parks, boulevards and triangles. High priority areas such as athletic fields, play areas, wading pools and beaches, special gardens, and areas with new plantings received
normal watering. Parks was able to save approximately 59,000 CCF (or hundred cubic feet, equaling 44 million gallons) and approximately $290,000 compared to recent four-year average use. This is just over a 20% reduction in average use, particularly remarkable given the 59-day dry spell Seattle experienced in summer 2012. What Parks learned is that it is cost effective in normal times to use the strategy usually reserved for drought conditions.

Based on continued need for balancing financial sustainability, park visitor experience, and environmental stewardship, Parks plans to continue similar irrigation conservation strategies in 2013. Parks staff will adjust sites to minimize the risk of any long term landscape health issues.

Peak-season water rates have increased 153% since 2007. While conservation can help the bottom line, park landscapes will continue to need water to maintain the trust the public has placed in Parks, and to support Parks’ great recreation opportunities and other environmental stewardship initiatives such as the Green Seattle Partnership’s citywide natural area restoration programs. Staff will continue to manage water use in the various types of landscapes with landscape health as the first priority, and will continue to uphold a strong conservation ethic by careful irrigation scheduling, appropriate plant selection, expedient irrigation repairs, and continuing to automate Parks’ irrigation systems.

The public can help in these efforts by reporting leaky irrigation lines to Parks’ maintenance request line, 206-684-7250, or emailing

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Seattle Parks and Recreation

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