Water Management for Splash Pads

Choosing the Right System

Navigating water management might seem overwhelming, but let's break it down for simplicity. This article explores the three primary water treatment systems for splash pads, empowering you to make informed decisions early in your splash pad project.


Why is choosing the right water management system important?

Choosing the right water management solution significantly contributes to achieving the long-term goals of your splash pad, whether it's leading in environmental sustainability, managing operational costs, or building a scalable pad for your community's evolving needs, year over year. Your new or refurbished splash pad will have the best chance of meeting your project goals as soon as you decide the best way to manage the water.

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

Parkworks works with the Waterplay team to evaluate each splash pad project we work on to determine the best water management solutions for each splash pad project.

What are the options?

There are three main splash pad water management systems:

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



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 & 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.

Choosing the right system

Consider unique project needs, location, and priorities:

  • 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?

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 attractive for your overall initial budget, depending where you live the ongoing, year over year, water costs may mean that in a few short years that you're actually paying more for water management in the long run.



Your community’s needs will change over the years, and your splash pad can be constructed to adapt with those needs. Key considerations to ensure you’re setting your splash pad up for success now, and in the future, are:

  • 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? It’s never too late to make important updates that allow you to meet your financial or sustainability goals.

Ask key questions before refurbishing your space:

  • 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?

In conclusion, water management is vital for splash pad success. Make informed decisions aligned with your project goals, now and in the future. Connect with Waterplay's expert team for assistance in making the right choices.

Work with Parkworks and learn more about water management and Waterplay's exciting product offering.