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City ponders turning back on Library Park play feature
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Scenes like this of kids playing in the water feature at Library Park could start occurring again in the coming months. - photo by HIME ROMERO/Bulletin file photo

Manteca is working on a plan to turn back on the Library Park water play feature that has remained dry for the past four years due to the drought.
Councilman Richard Silverman on Wednesday said city staff is currently working on a plan for the $450,000 water play feature dedicated in 2010 as the centerpiece of a $1.2 million Library Park expansion and renovation designed to draw families to the heart of Manteca.
The effort underway includes:
umaking sure Manteca complies with the more relaxed state water rules now that the drought has been declared officially over by Gov. Jerry Brown.
udetermining what needs to be done — and what it will cost — to get the water feature back on after not being in operation four years.
usurveying other communities that, like Manteca, do not have recirculating water play features, to see how they are operating them.
The last point is critical given Manteca faces a daunting $500,000 plus investment to upgrade the feature with a recirculation water system due to new health and safety standards put in place since 2010. Manteca doesn’t want to just let the water feature run essentially anytime Library Park is open as it would go through a lot of water.
“We need to still conserve water,” Public Works Director Mark Houghton said. “We are in an area that is arid.”
Silverman echoed Houghton empathizing Manteca needs to continue to conserve water. He’d like to see limits put on water used for the feature so it can be used in a responsible manner,
“The city is working with coming up with a plan now,” Silverman said. “I’m looking forward to see what they come up with.”
In 2009, the water play feature dumped 2 million gallons of water into the city’s storm drain. Based on Manteca’s per capital daily water consumption of 139 gallons what the water play feature used in 2009 was enough to meet the annual water needs of 40 Manteca residents.
Nearby cities implemented policies based on the day of use and the temperature this past summer that allowed their water play features to be used.
Ripon turned back on the Mistlin Sports Park water play feature with such rules in place as did Turlock. The interactive water feature in Ripon uses up to 2,000 of gallons per day. The Ripon interactive water feature was opened Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the summer months. It then went to a two-day a week schedule, going on Saturday and Sunday once classes resumed in August. The water play feature was then shut down in the fall and winter months.
Retrofitting the feature to recirculate water to slash use by up to 90 percent would cost $500,000 based on an estimate made by city staff in early 2016. That’s because it would require an expensive treatment system on the state’s assumption youth using the feature will sometimes pee as they do occasionally in swimming pools. It also would require the installation of a shower for kids to use before they get into the water play feature. That would pose other problems given the city’s efforts to keep illegal uses out of the parks. Cities can legally restrict the age of those that use water play features. However, that hasn’t stopped the homeless in other cities from using showers connected with water play features or shower-like features incorporated into the design.
Silverman is confident that once a solution is in place it will help increase the number of families utilizing Library Park.