Sprinklers, Irrigation and Water Conservation
Who is in charge of sprinklers and irrigation?
The Grounds Department maintains and operates the District's sprinkler systems. All concerns or problems regarding sprinkler systems should be directed to Karen Perry, Grounds Department Supervisor at 801-886-8929 ext 164.
What is the District's irrigation policy?
The District observes a strict water conservation policy. Sprinkler systems are not run between the hours of 10:00 AM and 6:00 PM except for reasons described below. Water is applied thoroughly to soak down to the root zone and then allowed to deplete before watering again.
What is the District doing to conserve water?
Besides our normal watering practices we are doing many things. We are testing two types of computer-based control systems that promote water wise irrigation at four school sites and we are experimenting with several types of drought tolerant sod. We have also replaced the traditional landscaped beds in selected areas around several of our schools with water wise landscaping or xeriscaping. In addition to saving water, these areas can be used as teaching tools for our students. Our most recent effort, shown at the right, is at North Star Elementary.
Why is there water running during the day?
With few exceptions, there should not be any sprinkler system running between the hours of 10:00 AM and 6:00 PM. However, we could be repairing a system which requires us to run one or more zones for a short time to ensure proper operation. We may also need to close a heavily used field for maintenance. Re-seeded grass or newly laid sod must be cooled during the day with the sprinkler system and summer is the only time this work can be done as the fields are in constant use at all other times of the year.
What about broken sprinkler heads or zones that seem to water continuously?
Generally, this simply means we are not aware of the problem. The Grounds Department has only two employees for sprinkler system maintenance. We have over 40 sites to maintain and each site can have multiple control systems and from 50 valves and 400 heads. High schools have over 200 valves and upwards of 1,600 heads. With more than 2,500 control valves throughout the District we expect malfunctions from time-to-time. Since it is impossible to check every valve or head on a daily basis we must rely heavily on our local school personnel and neighbors to report such problems.
Why are sprinklers running during the rain?
Only a few of our sprinkler systems have sensors to turn them off because of rain. In the case of a significant rain storm we would try to adjust our clock-based systems by skipping the next cycle but we would not adjust the individual watering times for each and every zone. And, even with a rain sensor, some of our computer-based systems will not shut off until the required amount of moisture has been applied to the root zone.
Finally, our Grounds Department personnel are not at work during the nighttime hours when our sprinkler systems are normally set to water. And if rain occurs during the early morning hours (weekdays only) we have a limited number of trained personnel that can manually turn off and then reset our systems.
Why do you water every night?
In most cases, we do not water the same sprinkler zone (valve) every night but we may need to water every night at a given school site to get through all the zones in a weeks time. New seed or sod is the exception and we may have to water the same zone every night until it is established.