It’s Indianapolis’ longest dry spell in 104 years, says the National Weather Service, and it prompted city leaders to issue an open-ended watering ban in effect for most of Marion County.
But at the Indianapolis Zoo, we’ve been conserving water long before the ban went into effect.
In general, we’re not water wasters! For example, when it comes to our Horticulture Department, staff members are always looking for ways to conserve water. In addition to using soaker hoses to reduce run-off and direct water specifically where it’s needed, the Zoo is currently changing some irrigation head spray nozzles so they are more efficient.
But the effort also starts with the plants the Horticulture staff selects. Lori Roedell, Curator of Horticulture, says, “We always try to incorporate drought tolerant plants when designing new landscaped areas.”
That planning will help as Roedell says the Zoo will cut back on watering where it’s possible during the drought, even though flower gardens are not included under the ban. Read more on the ban in the Indianapolis Star.
“We’re trying to be more efficient,” says Roedell.
The Zoo also has some pretty high-tech water conservation measures in place. Our Facilities Department has been extremely busy these last few years installing a new water filtration system in the Oceans and Marine Mammal areas. The old process used approximately three million gallons of water a year. With the new system installed in 2008, the Zoo reduced its water consumption by 2.6 million gallons annually!
When the restrooms were remodeled this spring as part of the Zoo’s Entry Plaza renovation, waterless urinals were installed in the men’s restroom. That saves a gallon of water with every flush and countless thousands of gallons each year! It’s better for the environment and saves the Zoo money. It’s a win-win!
When the watering ban went into effect on Friday, the Zoo began looking for additional areas to cut back on water usage, starting with the main water features — the Kroger Splash Park and the fountains in the White River Gardens.
The Kroger Splash Park will have reduced hours to help conserve water, but will remain open at the hottest times of day to give guests an opportunity to cool off. Modified hours can be found on the home page of the Zoo website. Meanwhile, the seven fountains located in the Gardens, including the fountain in the Hilbert Conservatory, will be turned off indefinitely.
Join in the effort and be a water saver, not a water waster! Click here for tips on how you can save water.