Alert banner

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Keeping parks and sports fields healthy through effective water management

Water is our most precious natural resource, and it's up to every Calgarian to help conserve and protect our water supply. The City of Calgary has a lot of wonderful parks and sports fields and keeping them in great shape takes planning and dedication to use water resources responsibly.

Parks has been leading the way in water management for several years, and has been recognized internationally for its irrigation practices.

Water Management Controller
“The City has invested in irrigation technology to maximize the benefit of every drop of water, decrease runoff and minimize downstream effects,” explains Water Management Lead for Parks Denis Gourdeau. “It is important to continually look for ways to conserve water while protecting assets like our trees and turf.”

One of the ways Parks accomplishes its conservation goals is by using a centralized irrigation system that draws data from weather stations around the city to determine when watering is necessary.

“Instead of watering for a fixed time on a fixed calendar, this system calculates how much water the plant needs based on the current weather and applies only what the plants needs,” says Denis. “With this system the amount is adjusted every day and conserves water.”

Recent upgrades to existing spray parks, as well as the construction of new parks have also taken into consideration the need to reuse water. Old parks had a system which required daily filling and draining, which used a substantial amount of treated water. “The new systems have been developed to be filled at the beginning of the season and treated on site like swimming pool. They no longer require daily draining, which results in less water usage,” says Denis.

Riley Park
Parks also uses water saving measures like allowing turf to grow to longer lengths, which provides shade for roots and retains moisture. Watering of sports fields is also done according to patterns of use. “When sports fields are heavily used, they require regular watering to protect turf from wear and tear,” says Denis. “We water less in the summer when the fields are not used as much allowing the turf to enter a dormancy state, which is good to maintain plant health.”

In 2009, the Irrigation Association awarded Calgary Parks its National Water & Energy Conservation Award for ‘transforming the irrigation industry in western Canada and for demonstrating exceptional commitment in using water wisely’. In 2010, Calgary Parks and Water Services shared another Irrigation Association award for exceptional Smart Irrigation Month promotions. Parks has also been been recognized for its involvement with initiatives such as the water recovery and reuse system at the Fire Training Academy.

Want to know how you can use less water in your own yard? Get lawn care tips and info on watering and irrigation systems for your home. See what you can do to save water and discover some interesting water facts!


  1. A lot of blogs I see these days don't really provide anything that I'm interested in, but I'm most definitely interested in this one.