Residents in Scottsdale enjoy 43 parks totaling nearly 1,000 acres - what is harder to see are the planning and innovation behind the scenes that have helped the city and its park system prepare for drought.
Scottsdale officially declared Stage 1 of its Drought Management Plan Aug. 17, supporting the Colorado River Tier 1 shortage recently announced by the Bureau of Reclamation that will take effect Jan. 1, 2022.
Stage 1 of the Scottsdale plan asks residents and businesses to voluntarily conserve water. As the public is being asked to conserve, the city is modeling those actions -- and the Parks and Recreation department is front and center.
Scottsdale's parks management staff has long recognized the importance of maintaining the city's parks and green spaces responsibly, knowing that every drop of water counts in the Sonoran Desert community. For more than 20 years, they have created innovative programs and practices that routinely see the city's park system use 15 percent less water than its annual allotment.
The result is a savings of more than 3 billion gallons of water over that time. This savings has created a substantial positive impact to Scottsdale's water management portfolio that puts the city in a better position to manage the current drought.
Some of the ways Scottsdale Parks & Recreation has achieved this water savings include:
- Converting turf to low water use plants and landscaping at strategic locations, such as the Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden at Chaparral Park
- Upgrading irrigation systems with technologies that detect leaks and breaks quickly, reducing water lost in the system
- Placing a high priority on water conservation when planning future community amenities and infrastructure
"Creating and maintaining Scottsdale's beautiful park spaces takes a lot of work, much of which happens behind the scenes," says Parks & Recreation Director Nick Molinari. "While people see and enjoy our green fields, we are continually focused on using water efficiently and conserving it wherever possible. The practices and technologies we have implemented will help us continue to provide the community with beautiful parks, sports fields, and open spaces while also reducing our water footprint."