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Water Management for Splash Pads: Choosing the Right System


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Posted by waterplayAdmin on September 1, 2023

Water management can be an intimidating topic, so let’s simplify it.

In this article you will learn about the three main types of water treatment systems for splash pads, and what you need to consider to make the right water management decisions early in your project to help you meet your goals.

Why is choosing the right water management system important?

Choosing the right water management system plays a big role in supporting the long terms goals of your splash pad. Whether your goal is to design a space that leads the charge in environmental sustainability, or one that doesn’t break the bank year over year in ongoing operational costs, or even to build a scale-able splash pad that can easily adapt to your growing community’s needs in 5-10 years, you have the best chance of meeting those goals as soon as you decide what to do with the water.

Waterplay designs and manufactures the industry’s leading water management systems and solutions—since 1987 our teams have been pioneering industry technology and innovation in the splash pad industry and delivering the best in quality, reliability, and support.

Let our expert teams support you in choosing the best way to manage your water.

What are the options?

Water management can be an intimidating topic, so let’s simplify it.

There are three main splash pad water management systems:

  1. Recirculation
  2. Retain and Repurpose
  3. Flow Through




A recirculation treatment system functions as a closed unit that continually recycles and disinfects the water to and from the splash pad—meaning that if you want the highest standard in environmental sustainability, this is it!

A higher initial investment than retain and repurpose or flow through systems, a recirculation system will reduce overall water consumption dramatically and save you the most money in ongoing water costs over the entire lifespan of your splash pad—and when your splash pad can last decades, that amounts to a lot of savings. Not only is it economical over the years, a Waterplay recirculation system will also provide you with an extremely high standard in water quality and safety by treating the water at multiple points throughout is journey through the system.


  • Provides a high level of filtration and disinfection, protecting against harmful bacteria
  • Conserves local water resources and minimizes the splash pad’s environmental impact
  • Will save millions of gallons of water annually over a flow through system

Recirculation systems are recommended as a great solution for all splash pad environments, small and large. This system requires ongoing maintenance and will help you reduce the environmental impact of your splash pad through reduced water consumption.




A flow through water management system hooks up to a municipality’s existing water resources through a manifold and controller. The municipal water source is then directed to the splash pad and can be turned on or off, like a shower or faucet in your home. Potable water is turned on to the splash pad where it sprays and then drains into the local sanitary or storm drain system. While it is the lowest initial investment of all three water management systems, flow through systems are not considered a sustainable water management option as water is not recycled and runs continuously into the local sanitary or storm drain system. Depending on local water infrastructure, this system can also have the high ongoing monthly and costs throughout the lifespan of your splash pad.


  • Low initial capital investment
  • No chemicals or filtration required—reducing daily and weekly maintenance requirements

Recommended for small splash pads with low water consumption. Not recommended when sustainability and water conservations have been recommended as short- or long-term project goals.


Retain and Repurpose


Retain & repurpose water management systems capture the used water from the splash pad for alternative use within the community. Retain and repurpose water systems are custom solutions that require advanced planning to meet the operating and sustainability goals of the park space they will be installed—how they will operate and repurpose the water is determined by local codes and regulations. Think of it like a dual purpose water management system - activate the splash pad AND irrigate the surrounding landscape.


  • Can reduce municipal water use and associated costs if built efficiently
  • Opportunities for repurposed water is determined by local water codes and regulations

Retain and repurpose systems are recommended for projects with environmental and water conservation plans that revolve around reclaimed water strategies.


What system is right for my project?

Every splash pad is different, and every community has different goals. Choosing the right water management system largely depends on what you want from your splash pad now, and even more importantly, what it will cost over the years and how you want it to service your community in the future.

Some things to consider when choosing a water management system:

  • Do you have any requirements or goals concerning water conservation?
  • Where is your project located? Do you experience droughts?
  • What are your top priorities out of these criteria: sustainability, water consumption, initial cost savings, long-term cost savings, maintenance?
  • What type of support staff is available to maintain the water management solution?
  • Do you plan to add onto the splash pad in the future, will I need more water lines to accommodate this?

Before you jump into deciding on a water management strategy, start with creating goals that help you identify your top priorities over the entire lifespan splash pad. While the lower initial investment of a flow through system might be intriguing and helpful for your initial project budget, it might end up costing more than you bargained for year over year.

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Let’s be practical, even though your splash pad could last decades, it will require some maintenance and refurbishments along the way to keep it relevant and in working order for the changing needs of your community. You can make future revitalizations easier and less costly by:

  • Choosing a water management system that easily allows you to update and adapt water usage
  • Adding extra water lines and surface mounts to your space that allows you to phase your installation over consecutive years or plan for a future revitalization based on community growth that might still be 5-10 years out
  • Choosing aquatic play equipment that allows you to detach the feature from the surface mount– see Waterplay’s innovative playPHASE™ surface mounting system

Working on a revitalization? While it may be more costly to upgrade your existing water management system after the initial installation, it’s never too late to make important updates that allow you to meet your financial or sustainability goals.

Important questions to ask if you’re considering a revitalization:

  • What led to the decision to refurbish your existing space?
  • What are you happy with? What are you hoping to change?
  • Have you thought about more future updates to the same space? Is this important to you?
  • Will your community’s needs change in the next 5-10 years? How?
  • What are your water management goals? Did your splash pad meet those goals prior to considering a revitalization? Have these goals changed since the splash pad was first built?

The bottom line, water management is an integral piece of your splash pad’s success, now and into the future. Ensure your planning team understands the options available to them and make decisions that meet your project goals now, and throughout the lifetime of your splash pad. Waterplay’s team of experts and dedicated water management specialists are happy to help you make the right choices for your project.


Contact us to learn more about water management and Waterplay's exciting product offering.