Exclusive: city crews leave sprinklers running unattended for hours

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

ALIAMANU PARK (KHNL) - People who live near Aliamanu Park were stunned as city workers left sprinklers running unattended for hours Tuesday. Concerned residents say while they're taking steps to conserve water, the city is wasting it.

Either one of the sprinklers is misdirected, or the city really wants to keep its outdoor basketball courts clean.

"I took my dog for a walk through the park, and they were just turning the sprinklers on about 10 minutes to 7 (am)," Judee Harris, concerned resident, said. "Here they are 4 1/2 hours later, and they're still watering the basketball court."

Even if the sprinkler was aiming at grass, people who live near Aliamanu Park say 4 1/2 hours of watering is excessive.

"Especially during a shortage of water where we haven't had our natural rains that we normally have," Harris said.

City parks director Lester Chang says the sprinklers are set up manually by workers, who leave to perform duties at other parks and then return. He says leaving the water running for that long was "inadvertent," and that he's "working on procedures to correct it."

"The city should be more diligent in the way that they deal with the different natural resources," Harris said.

As for drenching the basketball court, parks officials blame a mechanical problem with the sprinkler. They say they do take water conservation seriously.

"I'm trying to go as green as I can and try to preserve, I mean, it's our children and our grandchildren that are going to inherit this," Harris said. "And if we don't take care of it, nobody is going to."

Because water evaporates quickly when the sun is out, the Honolulu Board of Water Supply says you shouldn't water grass between 9 am and 5 pm.