Wild Rivers water park returns with promises to conserve

Starting Thursday, Southern Californians will see triple-digit temperatures as a heatwave sweeps into the weekend. High temperatures will peak on Saturday, and no one can be blamed for wanting to cool off in the pool or slide down a waterslide.

Earlier this month, the Wild Rivers water park in Irvine reopened after an 11-year hiatus. The newly built 20-acre water park is nearly twice the size of its previous iteration, but Wild Rivers pops up again in drier California, at a time when the state’s largest reservoirs are running low. historic lows and water restrictions in effect throughout the Golden State.

According to John Fabris, a spokesman for the Irvine Ranch Water District, which supplies the park, the amount of water needed to fill the park is “approximately the amount of water needed to fill two Olympic-sized swimming pools”.

“The new site was built with brand new equipment that has a powerful filtration system in place, allowing them to reuse the water for the slides and rides over and over again,” he said.

As for the optics of opening a water park during a period of drought, Fabris said the agency has conducted an assessment of the water supply and determined that it has enough water to supply the project as well as all.” existing and intended use for the customer” for at least 20 years.

“That’s understandable,” he said of the question, “but it’s also a popular attraction for the community. And having everyone gather in one place, beating the heat in a situation where water is used efficiently, ultimately saves a lot more water than when my kids were young and we used the fire to slide and slide in the backyard and let it run all day.”

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, much of California is in the midst of a severe drought. Water restrictions dot the state’s landscape and brown lawns have appeared to respond.

Preliminary data for June, which represents about 30% of the state’s population, shows water savings of just over 7% compared to June 2020, according to the California State Board of Water Resources Control. Other parts of the region are also having success with water restrictions starting last month.

In late 2011, California fell into a drought that lasted nearly seven years. That same year, Wild River closed, and while the new park repeats itself larger, the water district says, thanks to upgraded amenities, the park will use 10% less water than the old location. Eric Gieszl, guest experience director at Wild Rivers, said the question of opening a water park during a drought is fair.

“I can understand where some individuals might be worried,” says Gieszl. “But when you learn the real facts about our usage and compare it to other uses of water, then I think people suddenly realize that our use is really insignificant. in the big picture.”

The park fills up its pools once in early summer and circulates the water through its filtration system and pumps, Gieszl said. Any additional water use causes evaporation during the season, Gieszl adds.

The park will also irrigate the landscape with reclaimed water instead of potable water, and park urinals will be empty. The park will also be a major recruiting site for youth during the summer and an economic driver for Irvine, Gieszl said. He compares the park’s sprint to a golf course, which he says only a few people can enjoy at a time.

“A lot of our customers are past patrons,” says Gieszl. “And they’re back to the park experience and many of them are bringing their kids.”

Unlike some parts of the state that rely heavily on supplies from Northern California and the Colorado River, only 18 percent of Irvine’s water comes from the area, Fabris said, with 82% coming from groundwater and recycled water. in Orange County.

However, as this area is subject to Phase 2 water restrictions, water-saving measures such as avoiding wetting the pavement and using hoses with automatic shut-off faucets are required.

The park is also subject to similar restrictions, Fabris said, including a new state regulation banning non-functional lawn irrigation. The park is also taking advantage of drought- and drip-irrigation landscaping, he said.

For residential customers, parks are also subject to a “budget-based water pricing structure,” charging them for the actual amount of water received.

“So Wild River, like every customer, is driven to use the water as efficiently as possible,” he said.

This weekend’s heat wave will extend into next week and pose serious health risks to vulnerable people.

A high-pressure system from the east would increase above-average temperatures by 4 to 8 degrees, according to the National Weather Service, and there would be a chance of monsoon thunderstorms in the mountains and desert. Triple-digit heat will creep into the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and Salinas valleys and close to 105 degrees in the Antelope Valley.

“This type of heat is typical for this time of year,” said Tyler Salas, a meteorologist from the National Weather Service in San Diego. “It will be hot. Relatively speaking, it will be less humid”.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-07-14/southern-california-heat-wave-amid-drought-irvine-wild-rivers-promises-to-conserve Wild Rivers water park returns with promises to conserve

Edmund DeMarche

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