The popular San Diego County Waterfront Park sets a poor example for water use, especially during the drought, a Grand Jury report found.
The report, which looked into management plans and conducted interviews, examined water-use and conservation activities at the Downtown San Diego park.
The park, which took years to build, features water fountains and "recreational" reflecting pools, a designation which exempts them from conservation mandates, the report found.
During the drought, the County of San Diego is "obliged to manage all potable water uses as efficiently as possible and set an example for the public," the report reads.
However, the County does not have a water conservation plan for the park, according to the report.
When the County of San Diego set up their Drought Response Action Plan in May 2015, they dedicated $13 million to implement extensive water conservation activities at all County-maintained landscapes, facilities and parks - with the exception of some critical facilities, like the Waterfront Park.
The report found the County has taken some actions to reduce their initial water use at the park -- like adding potable water use waivers, for example -- but the facility still uses "copious amounts of potable water," according to the report.
From the day the park opened through June 2016, the park used 17 million gallons of potable water, the Grand Jury found.
"The County should recognize it is projecting a water-wasteful image to its citizens," the Grand Jury wrote in their report.
Michael Workman, Director of the County Communications Office, sent this statement regarding the Grand Jury report:
“The Waterfront Park has been used year round by nearly three-quarters of a million visitors since opening in 2014. It is a featured crown jewel on San Diego’s waterfront. Much like Balboa Park and other parks in the region, the Waterfront Park serves as an important tourist and regional destination."
In their report, the Grand Jury commends the County for their general efforts to conserve water but recommends the County develop a water conservation plan for the park in case of a water emergency.
The Grand Jury also recommends the County put in place additional ongoing water conservation efforts.