Easy Ways To Celebrate Smart Irrigation Month

July is Smart Irrigation Month, and here are some easy and effective ways to improve your system.

Let's start with things your can purchase and easily install yourself.

  1. Drip irrigation - Drip systems do just that, they drip water out rather than spraying it through the air resulting in water loss.
  2. A rain sensor - This is a small device you can pick up at almost any home improvement store for just a few bucks. It shuts off your sprinklers when it senses rain. Pretty smart, right?
  3. A smart controller - This one's a little more elaborate, but highly effective. This, takes it to a level above a rain sensor. Smart controllers gather complete weather information from nearby weather stations. Not only do they shut off sprinklers when it's raining, they adjust the amount of water your system applies. If it only rains a little your controller knows how much more water to add to fill your plants' bellies.
  4. A pressure regulator - If you notice water misting from your sprinklers it's likely due to too much pressure. Having the proper pressure assures your sprinklers perform as they were designed. Your sprinklers should only be spraying tiny droplets of water into the air, not creating a foggy scene from a horror movie. 
  5. High efficiency nozzles - Different sprinkler types apply water in different ways. See if you can replace any of your heavier water using sprinklers with something more efficient, like a rotary stream nozzle. All sprinkler types can keep your plants healthy, so why not do so using less water?

Finally, let's go over some general principals to help you cut you water use

What Is Compost?

  1. Adding compost to your soil on an annual basis, or topdressing, improves soil quality and its ability to retain water. Learn more about compost in the video at the right from the article "What Is Compost".
  2. Avoid watering at the hottest times of the day, and run your sprinklers in the morning or evening. Makes sense, right?
  3. And last, ask around with your local agencies to see what kinds of rebates they offer for your effort. You may find that they will cover the costs of some of your efforts. 

Good luck watering smarter!

Behind the Design at the Fairgrounds ... Water!

Water is an important feature.  It’s being re-introduced on the site, re-purposed, and used in a variety of ways as features of the park.  

The Stream and its Well Water

A new well was drilled to re-introduce water, as it was a critical asset in the history of the homestead life.  Well water is used to create the stream and fill the two ponds.

The stream is fed by an aquifer that is pumped to the surface and used not only as a play and aesthetic element, but also for all of the site's irrigation demand. The site is primarily covered in native grasses, but also includes some turf grass for the heavier demand events brought by the fair

Water Vault

A specially engineered vault holds well water as well as additional sourced water.  About 20,000 gallons of water is stored in the vault that is located underneath the shed in the valley and constructed of poured-in-place concrete.


There are two ponds, both roughly ten feet deep providing a natural circulation as the warmer water rises to the surface.

The lower pond is an irrigation retention storage pond.  Detention water from storm and runoff bypasses the lower pond and goes directly to the detention pond at the northwest corner of the site.

The upper pond is located at the lower end of the valley, situated between several hills and swales.  Its water control systems like the wetland shelf look like naturally formed features.  The ‘situation basin’, designed to mitigate sediment flow, looks like a naturally created wading pool.  Two sunken rock piles and sunken logs will provide perfect habitats for fish and eventually, cattails will re-populate the wetlands area.