Athletic Field Irrigation Audit 

This program empowers students to use STEM to make sense of their world and learn about the wise use of water. In this program, students investigate their school’s athletic field irrigation system using the tools of a water auditor. Students will visually inspect an athletic field’s irrigation system and evaluate distribution uniformity (DU) using math and data collection methods. Following their data collection, they examine their data, draw conclusions, and draft recommendations for ways to use water more efficiently. This program consists of 4 components:

  • Introductory Lesson: A 50-minute interactive presentation led by Arizona Project WET (APW) Water Educators. Students are introduced to water conservation technology and behaviors. At the end of the presentation, students are briefed on the audit of the school’s athletic field irrigation system.
  • Sprinkler Inventory: APW staff will inventory the field’s sprinkler system at your school in preparation for the students’ projects. This is done without students, but will require the assistance of the lead teacher and a grounds person to turn on and off the water. The inventory will help determine the number of sprinklers and watering zones and note any pertinent observations. After the inventory, APW will sketch a map and assign groups of students to audit each watering zone.
  • Audit Day: Students partner with APW staff and volunteers to audit the assigned sprinklers. Students lay out 16 catch cans in a grid pattern and then the sprinkler system is run for 10 minutes. They then measure the amount of water collected in each catch can and mark it on their map. Back in the classroom, students use their data and an auditor’s formula to calculate the Distribution Uniformity of the field.  The DU is a measure of how evenly water is applied to a turf area and is often part of an Irrigation Audit.
  • Results Presentation: When the audit and calculations are completed, students may make suggestions to adjust or replace sprinkler heads. Students are highly encouraged to present results and suggestions to APW staff, their school principal, their school district, or any other organization/business that would be interested.

We hope this program inspires students to learn more about water efficiency and become a dedicated water saver. 

We are currently offering APW facilitated presentations for this program to Avondale, Chandler, Litchfield Park, Pinal County, and the Tucson area. Don’t delay…request a presentation today! 

Presentation Request


For teachers outside the service area: If you would like to implement the program, we offer a free Athletic Field Water Audit Presenter’s Guide that you could use to lead the activity with your students. Please contact Kerry Schwartz at kls4@arizona.edu for more information. You may also check out the Community Action tab on our website where you can find additional resources, such as our faucet aerator installation video that walks students through the data collection process and shows them how to install new water efficient aerators.