BEND, Ore. — On a Thursday morning at Drake Park, Bend Park & Recreation District landscape manager Mike Duarte fished his phone from his pocket and pulled up a screen full of tiny green icons—the irrigation system at Big Sky Park, 4 miles across town.

As long as he is connected to the Internet, with a touch Duarte can turn the sprinklers on or off at Big Sky Park—or at any of 42 of the district’s 53 irrigated park properties.

The new control system was installed at Drake Park within the last month, and as it’s been expanded to more and more parks in recent years, the district has been able to cut back the amount of water it uses to keep its turf green and its plants healthy.

With help from the new system, a warm but not hot fall and skipping watering days to accommodate an abundance of park events, the district trimmed its water use by nearly 20 percent last year.

The system can monitor weather forecasts and adjust how much water should be applied on any given night. At some parks, including Drake Park, sensors have been installed a few inches below the soil to monitor moisture levels, allowing the system to make similar adjustments without human input.

Click here for the full article at the Corvallis Gazette Times.