Copper Sky Regional Park

Maricopa, AZ—Honor Award, Parks & Rec/Sports Fields


Douglas Macdonald
Aqua Engineering, Inc.
Fort Collins, CO



The Copper Sky Regional Park in Maricopa, Arizona encompasses 98 acres and offers outstanding opportunities for community fitness, fun, and leisure.  Recreational areas include a special event amphitheater; eight multi-purpose sports fields; one baseball and three softball fields; tennis courts; volleyball courts; a dog park; and a skate plaza.  The park also includes a five-acre fishing lake stocked for recreational sport fishing which also serves as the irrigation water source.

Doug Macdonald, Aqua Engineering, Inc., was tasked with providing irrigation design, engineering, and construction observation services for the 98-acre desert site.  Irrigation solutions included a lake level control management system, irrigation wet well, irrigation pumping system, and sprinkler/drip irrigation system to service this regional park and sports complex.



The irrigation system includes computerized central control and flow sensing technologies to allow the City to monitor and manage water use and water application to the landscape planting with a very high level of efficiency. System objectives included minimizing annual maintenance, operational, water and electrical costs.  This is achieved by using high efficiency components and automated system self-assessment and monitoring technology.

Proprietary design software and hydraulic modeling techniques were applied to design the most efficient mainline piping and sprinkler layout for the complex.  System design considerations included the calculation of peak season and annual irrigation water requirements to ensure lake storage facility balances demand with water supply strategies and lake level control requirements.

The lake storage amenity accesses raw water and reclaimed water from two different sources.  The 5-acre lake was designed to provide suitable quality water storage for the park irrigation system, support an active ecosystem and fish population, and be an aesthetic park amenity for the community and region.   Additional design elements include lake perimeter edge treatments, mechanical aeration system, lake lining and grading plans, lake recirculation and irrigation pumping systems, and electrical controls.



  • Coordinated with reclaimed water purveyor to specify SCADA interface that enables the system to monitor flow demands from that water source
  • Worked with City and AZGFD Community Fishing Program representatives to accommodate fish habitat requirements during lake edge, lining, filtration, and mechanical aeration systems design
  • Collaborated with City of Maricopa staff, landscape architects, geotechnical and civil engineers, architects to ensure effective coordination of all design elements
  • Prepared construction plans, specifications and details for an efficient and comprehensive irrigation system including a high efficiency pumping and filtration system, wet well, and system safety and monitoring controls
  • Provided construction observation services throughout duration of park construction



A primary challenge was coordinating the two separate non-potable water sources and specifying an interface that enabled the site management team to apply either source based on supply and demand parameters.

The desert climate and large venue size made optimizing water resource management and the functional requirements of the overall system critical project elements.



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