Cardiff Sports Park fields to close through July for renovation


The city of Encinitas has announced field closures for the Cardiff Sport Park athletic fields to begin annual turf renovation. Annual sports turf renovation is required to provide safe playing surfaces for sports and overall general park use. The city Parks and Recreation Department serves many youth sports groups that play on these fields, ranging from soccer, softball and baseball, which all require a safe playable area.

The turf renovation for the upper fields will begin at the end of June, followed by the lower fields in July. Additional water is needed to accommodate the aggressive turf over-seeding that is necessary to create healthy, resilient athletic fields. Irrigation cycles will take place four times a day, seven days a week to ensure the over-seeding is successful. Young turf grass must be kept moist at all times, which requires multiple daytime watering cycles.

This turf rehabilitation comes at a time when the state is requiring San Dieguito Water District, which serves the park, to reduce potable water demand by 28 percent because of the ongoing drought. Cardiff Sports Park remains the only sports park in Encinitas that is irrigated with potable water. All other sports parks in the city use recycled water.

On June 4, the Parks and Recreation Department submitted a request for a variance from the mandatory water use restrictions that limit landscape irrigation to two days a week between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m.

The San Dieguito Water District approved the request on June 15 “because the main intention of the mandatory water use restrictions was to limit the irrigation of ornamental turf,” said Catherine S. Blakespear, president of the district.

“The turf at the Cardiff Sports Park is not ornamental; it provides playing surfaces that are used by thousands of people monthly and we need to keep them well maintained. I applaud the Parks & Recreation staff for figuring out an innovative way to offset the additional water required at the Cardiff Sports Park by reducing water use in other parks by more than an equivalent amount.”

The water demand offset will come from cutting water use at several other city parks that don’t have athletic fields in June and July. Even with the additional water required for the turf renovation, overall water use at the city parks is expected to be 10,000 gallons per week lower in June and 7,000 gallons per week lower in July. Water cuts at other parks will come from reducing sprinkler run times by a few minutes at each station. The plants will get by with a bit less water for about two months.

Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar said, “While the timing isn’t perfect considering our current drought conditions, city staff’s solution to reallocate water and offset demand is just the type of creative thinking we need to sustain safe sports parks while conserving water.”

— Submitted press release