Guest Column - March 2012
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Splashpads Get Greener
Innovative Systems Reuse & Replenish Every Splash

By Patricia Rotschild

Above Ground Irrigation

Another solution is to link the splashpad to a surface irrigation system, which allows for above-grade dripping, spray or surface-flooding options.

Water collected from the splashpad is first accumulated in a holding tank and gradually filtered and disinfected before being transferred to an underground reservoir. The irrigation pumping station draws the clean water from the reservoir at the onset of scheduled irrigation.

An average medium-sized splashpad runs approximately 160 GPM, or just under 55,000 gallons per day. To irrigate a youth soccer field requires approximately 22,000 gallons per day (in the southeastern United States) to 68,000 gallons per day (in the southwestern United States). Why not use the same water beforehand in a spray park that will provide further recreation to the community?

The Kids Love Recreation splashpad at Seymour Lake in Michigan is an example of this type of solution. The installed system offers several different uses for the same water, adding to its economical benefits. The splashpad system links to a manmade pond. At night the pond is used to irrigate a surrounding park and sports field, while in the winters it becomes an ice-skating rink, and finally, it is also used as an emergency water source for the local fire department.

More parks are looking for sustainable alternatives to traditional recirculating systems. The capturing and reusing of water for sub-surface, or above-ground, irrigation significantly cuts down on the use of freshwater, taking every drop of water as far as it can go. Advancement in technology combined with consideration and design have resulted in innovative new options for water management. Partnering with experts in zero-depth aquatic solutions ensures that aquatic play is as safe for the environment as it is for the children.

Patricia Rotschild is a marketing and design specialist for Vortex Aquatic Structures International. For more information, visit