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I asked RDOS staff about this:

[The former City of Penticton water steward] and I used to hide our heads when these complaints came in.  The RDOS is just as guilty too.

The standard reason is that the park irrigation (or public space irrigation)  is subject to continuous damage and vandalism.  Having it on during the day allows park staff to fix any issues.  This avoids  having broken heads running full out gushing all night. This is true in West Bench – but horses are the main culprit for damaged irrigation.

So there is some method in this madness.  Anyone who owns one knows that automatic irrigation systems are a disaster waiting to happen.  The damage can be massive if the systems fail at night or when the homeowner is not home. The advantage we have as homeowners is that we sleep near our irrigation systems.  Night is really the most practical time to monitor these systems (assuming we sleep lightly and can detect the sound of water washing away our property).

Our park employees do not generally sleep in out parks so there is a balance between evaporation avoidance and more serious water losses (and property damage) due to leaks, breaks, and failure.

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