November 15, 2007 in Voices

Sprinkler systems to be installed at Minnehaha Park

By The Spokesman-Review

Spokane parks irrigation specialists are taking on another sprinkler installation at Minnehaha Park during the off-season this fall and winter.

The city Parks and Recreation Department has been using in-house crews in recent years to install or upgrade irrigation systems at its older parks for a fraction of the cost of bidding the job to a private contractor.

Last year, workers installed irrigation at Hays Park on the North Side, and similar installations have occurred previously at Chief Garry and Underhill parks.

Tony Madunich, park operations manager, said the cost of materials is between $30,000 and $40,000, but includes a computer-controlled system that monitors rainfall to reduce irrigation costs. The system is linked to the park operations office by radio signal. The sprinklers adjust themselves to add water to dry areas and reduce water to wet areas. The system also detects damage and shuts off water if there is a leak.

The system has timers that apply the water early in the morning when humidity is higher and evaporation lower. That is also an advantage to park users, who won’t have to avoid portions of the park while they are being watered.

The amount of water sprayed on Hays Park last summer was about a third less than with the older manual system that was previously used at the 1907 park.

“It’s saving a ton of money on water,” Madunich said. The new system also is helping with a larger goal of conserving the region’s water supply.

If installed through a private contractor, the system at Hays Park would have cost as much as $150,000.

Other parks in line for irrigation improvements in coming years include High Bridge, Franklin, Webster and Comstock parks, Madunich said earlier this year.

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