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Incirlik to reduce base water impact

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- The dreaded "dog days" of summer are just around the corner at Incirlik Air Base. 

With higher temperatures come the chores of watering and maintaining lawns and shrubbery, which is a drain on manpower and a large yearly expenditure for the U.S. Air Force.

An innovative new approach has been endorsed by Col. John Walker, 39th Air Base Wing commander, which represents a paradigm shift in base landscaping.

Turn off the sprinklers.

Historically, Incirlik begins landscape irrigation in April or May, once temperatures peak and the rain slows.  This year, Walker's initiative is to keep sprinklers turned off for the majority of the base through the summer. These proposed reductions in water use could save Incirlik Airmen approximately $75,000 per year in water alone.

Some areas such as baseball fields, golf course, and popular areas on base will continue to be irrigated. 

Currently, lawn and landscape maintenance up to 50 feet from a building is the responsibility of the facility manager. Eventually, Walker's goal is to remove the facility managers' landscape maintenance requirement. While the "50-foot rule" lawn maintenance has not yet transitioned to a base contract, facility managers are strongly encouraged to keep their sprinklers turned off this summer, and mow when necessary to maintain an orderly appearance.

This will ultimately save the Air Force in manpower and refocus the effort on the important missions Incirlik Airmen have taken on over the past year.

While some Air Force bases have taken landscaping extravagance to the extreme with shocking green lawns and lush flower displays, Walker's vision is more environmentally-friendly. We can save more than 15 million gallons of water a year by stopping irrigation around the base. That's good for the planet, good for the budget and good for our Airmen.

What about my house?

The policy for housing is not changing at this time. While you will notice that some common-use areas are no longer irrigated such as cul-de-sacs, please continue to comply with the Energy Conservation memorandum for record dated August 2015. It states, "Landscape irrigation and grass watering is allowed only on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and is prohibited between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m."

Click here to learn more about housing energy conservation.

For any questions regarding landscape maintenance or ideas for saving energy, please contact the 39th Civil Engineer Squadron at 676-6862.