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Water Efficiency in San José Parks
Doing Our Part to Conserve

Although water supply levels in San José have returned to normal, it’s still important to save water and make water efficiency a way of life. That’s why PRNS is always dedicated to maintaining our facilities in a way that both saves water and preserves our parks. Although public parks are exempt from the City’s watering restrictions—which are in effect at all times--we plan to reduce our potable (fresh) water usage while keeping areas of our parks green, to provide our residents a safe environment to recreate. 

Report a Concern
Help keep our parks beautiful, healthy and safe. If you see any maintenance issues or other problems that are occurring in a San José park, please fill out the Park Concerns Form. or call (408) 793-5510 to report a concern.

Why Will Our Parks Stay Green?

Parks are known to improve our physical and psychological health, strengthen community and make our neighborhoods a more attractive place to live and work. Parks also provide substantial environmental benefits by reducing air and water pollution and they even keep our cities cooler. If left to brown out, our parks will become underutilized and users may experience unsafe conditions and a potential increase in crime. It is very important for the City to protect its investment in one of our largest community assets; the 3,458 acres of parkland in San José.

Continuing to irrigate and maintain our parks will prevent the decay of existing landscaping, saving tax payers millions of dollars in restoration costs. The roughly $3 million spent annually on water use, is a mere fraction of what would be spent to restore the acres of play fields and irrigated landscaping in our parks. Considering the health, environmental and potential financial risks, the most logical approach to city parkland is efficiently using water, not elimination of its use.

Water Features in Our Parks

The recirculated fountain at Plaza de Caesar Chavez will be in operation, as will the fountain at the San José Municipal Rose Garden, with a 30% reduction in operational hours. All remaining water features in our parks that do not recirculate will remain off until we recover from current conditions.

Types of Water We Use

Fresh or Potable:  drinking water, the type that is delivered to your home.

Recirculated:  fresh water circulating through a self-contained system. This type of water is typically used for water fountains and public water features. 

Recycled:  former waste water that is treated to remove solids and impurities and used for landscape irrigation. This water can be identified by the “purple” pipes and signage. Currently utilized at 44 PRNS locations, mostly parks, with no reduced usage necessary.

Water Saving Strategies for Our Parks

In order to reduce the irrigation demands associated with potable water, areas of our City’s parks will be assessed for the incorporation of native landscaping and other low water use features or activities. Here are a few of our water efficiency strategies:

  • Irrigation system modification, improve existing spray
  • Irrigation systems by installing high efficiency components
  • Irrigation system reduction, capping irrigation heads where appropriate
  • Turf conversion considerations for areas not in active use:
    • Concrete, decomposed granite, decorative rock/stone or mulch
    • Incorporating tolerant, native California landscape materials, to enhance the natural beauty of our parks

Keeping vital turf healthy in parks requires one inch of water per week during the summer season. One inch per week equates to about 27,000 gallons of water used per acre. Comparing that to a smaller scale, a 20' x 50' area (1,000 square feet) requires approximately 620 gallons of water per week for irrigation. In comparison, a four-person household using an average of 60 gallons per person per day, consumes approximately 1,680 gallons of water per week. 

Native landscaping requires little to no water once established, and will provide sustainable landscaping for years to come. The installation of features like picnic areas or playgrounds will also be considered. PRNS will partner with our residents to determine the best approach, following a clearly defined process from notification through completion of potential conversion projects.

What You Can Do

  • Become active in turf conversion projects in your neighborhood parks. Information will be published to the City’s website.
  • Become an Adopt-A-Park volunteer and help us to protect and enhance San José's neighborhood parks. Call 408-793-4190 or email .
  • Report continuously running water during business hours to 408-535-3570 and after hours to City of San José Communications at 408-277-8956.
  • Report park concerns to 408-793-5510 or .