Water at the Gardens

Water at the Waukesha County Rental Gardens

Water is available at the Waukesha County Rental Gardens shortly after the Gardens open in the spring until the first predicted freeze of the fall or when the Gardens close in October, whichever is first.

The water is supplied to the Garden from a nearby city fire hydrant and the Gardens are billed for all water used. Water runs from an apparatus attached to the fire hydrant through hoses to the tanks along the north side of the road in the Gardens. Water runs from the tanks on the north side through hoses that run under the road and then above ground through the Gardens to the tanks on the south side of the Gardens. The tanks at the gardens are kept full and gardeners can take water directly from a tank by dipping their watering can in to fill it with water. They can also hook up their hose to a hose connection at a water tank. Do NOT wash your hands in the water tanks!

Water tanks and hose connections

Example of some of the switches used at the Gardens to control the flow of water

Example of some of the switches used at the Gardens to control the flow of water

While the types of tanks and connections at each tank may vary, the basic operations are the same. Each tank has a float that senses the water level and automatically allows the tank to fill and then shuts off the water flowing to the tank when it it filled. The water coming into each tank at the garden is also equipped with multiple hose connections for gardeners to connect their personal hose. There is an on/off switch at every connection point that can be used to shut off the water in case of leaks. It is important to be familiar with how to “flip a switch” to turn off water to prevent waste (see photo for examples of types of switches used to control water flow). If you see a leak at the Gardens, please turn off the water nearest the point of the leak and contact the Extension office (lboyer@waukeshacounty.gov and/or ann.wied@wisc.edu or 262-548-7775) so the issue can be addressed. Refer to the section below on leaks for how and where to shut off water in different situations.

Connecting and disconnecting your hose at a water tank

  1. Attach your hose to an open hose connection
    *  DO NOT tug or yank on your hose once it is connected to the water supply, this may loosen (or damage) the hose connection apparatus and cause water to leak. (If you see water leaking at the T connector, tighten the connector to stop the leak – this may require pliers if you have them. If you are unable to stop the leak, “flip the switch” to the hose connection apparatus and contact the Extension office.)
  2. When you are ready to use the water, turn the switch for that hose connection to allow water to flow into your hose
  3. Be sure to keep the water to your hose off when it is not actively in use
  4. ALWAYS disconnect your hose before leaving the Gardens
    *  Make sure the water to your hose is turned off
    *  Disconnect your hose
    *  Look at the water supply connections to make sure using and removing your hose didn’t loosen any connections and create a leak, tighten connections if needed
  5. Remember, there are NO SPRINKLERS allowed at the Gardens

Again, please do not yank or tug on your hose to stretch it to your garden while it is connected to the water! The connection apparatus does not have a great deal of support and can break if stressed.

In case of a water leak – shut off water by “flipping the switch” and then contact the Extension office! The goal is always to shut the water off nearest to the leak so as much water as possible stays on for gardeners to access. 

  • If the T connection for the hoses at a tank is leaking (and tightening the connection did not work, even with pliers), shut off the water by “flipping the switch” to the hose connection apparatus.
  • If a tank is overflowing, shut off the water to the tank by “flipping the switch” at the connection directly above the float.
  • If water is leaking or spraying from a hose on the ground, follow the hose to the nearest on/off control connection and “flip the switch” connecting to that hose to stop the water flow. We know this may impact water availability further down the line since the water is coming from the hydrant flowing from the north tanks to the south tanks.

Other reminders about the water: 

  • Do not wash hands in tanks
  • NO sprinklers allowed at the Gardens
  • Be sure to store your hose completely INSIDE your garden plot and not on the path

Extension Office Contacts:  

Lisa Boyer (support staff) – lboyer@waukeshacounty.gov or 262-548-7775
Ann Wied (Garden Coordinator) – ann.wied@wisc.edu

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