With city budgets running dry, parks officials say they've hit on a plan to help keep parks money flowing.
They want to dig shallow wells in larger city parks and use the water for irrigation. The City Council approved the plan at its Oct. 27 meeting.
The city spends $800,000 a year to irrigate its parks with water that's clean enough to drink, said Parks Director Julie Hannon. That's a hefty bill, and the city had trouble paying it this year.
In some neighborhoods residents stepped in to pay for watering at smaller parks when the city couldn't afford it.
Digging wells and switching to lower-quality water suitable for agricultural uses could prevent that from happening again. Hannon said the wells also will help conserve drinking water and maintain better water pressure in the city's potable water system.
The wells will be dug at the city's largest community parks: Beardbrook, Beyer, David, Downey, East La Loma, Graceada and Mellis. It will cost $50,000 per park to dig the wells. At some parks, the city may share well water and costs with nearby schools.
"The more money we can save on irrigation, the more money we'll have to put toward restroom maintenance and parkettes and all the other things that have been cut from our budget," Hannon said.