Questions raised about water use at Waterfront Park during drought

Park uses 88,000 gallons of recirculated water

SAN DIEGO - Questions are being raised about the brand new County Waterfront Park running day and night during California's severe drought.

About 1,500 to 2,000 people per day use the park, according to a San Diego County spokesman.

Over the summer, Olivia Moffit and her family have visited the park about once a week.

"They enjoy it. I've got four kids, they range from eight months to seven years," Moffit said.

The park opened in May, and the water used is recirculated, treated to public swimming pool standards. On most days, the park is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

About 88,000 gallons of water are used to run the park, but what is not known is how much is lost through evaporation or the kids taking some of that water with them. A county spokesman said because the park has open been open three months, they do not have that data yet. They typically analyze water bills after a year.

Most of the families at the park Thursday morning said they want to keep it running, despite the drought conditions.

"We'd hate to see it go," Moffit said.

"The minimal amount of water that is probably lost is worth the benefit to the community," said Kathy Harper, who brought her grandkids to the park Thursday.

County Supervisor Ron Roberts led the charge on the $49.4 million waterfront park. His chief of staff, Tim McClain, told Team 10 they already shut the water off to three ornamental fountains on the property.

McClain said the park was "designed to meet state water conservation standards," including the low water Bermuda grass and native plants. He said if there is a heavy rainfall, an automatic sensor will shut the fountains off.

A county spokesman added that a new drainage system will be put in after the summer in order to reuse some of the backsplash.

McClain pointed out that the county switched to waterless urinals at the county building in order to save water at the suggestion of Roberts. That move saved hundreds of thousands of gallons annually.

The city of San Marcos recently shut off several of its splash pads to save the city between 8,000 to 12,000 gallons of water per day. They will be turned off indefinitely

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