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City of Spokane looks to save water in parks and golf courses

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

The city of Spokane is increasing its investment in water conservation efforts, at least in its parks and golf courses.

The Public Works Department has agreed to give the Parks Department $250,000 a year for the next 10 years to implement new water savings plans. Parks Director Garrett Jones says the city will buy new equipment which won’t require people to manually start and move sprinklers. He says the work started two years ago.

“We had a goal to achieve a 30% reduction on each one of our golf courses and we were able to do that," he said.

Jones say the city is also exploring ways to minimize watering in its parks.

“We did a partner project, partnering with public works, last year at Manito. We converted about two acres of existing irrigated turf and we converted that into more of a natural native landscape. We’re evaluating parks like Audubon, Coeur d’Alene, High Bridge, Manito, Cannon Hill. These are all areas that are still manually irrigated and so how do we look at areas to be more efficient and then bring in more of that native landscaping as well," he said.

Jones says the modernizations have allowed the city to save tens of millions of gallons of water while increasing the quality of the facilities, especially at the golf courses.

“We’ve seen, as far as the quality of play and the health of the turf is now at a better level than it was previously," he said. "As we make these infrastructure improvements, it also gives us the flexibility to be able to water at non-peak times so we’re not stressing the overall system and that helps us as well with infrastructure needs.”

The city says the new agreement will help with its community education work and provide examples of water-saving projects community members could employ at their homes or businesses.