After turning off the showers at most beaches, Del Mar installed sand brushes and encouraged people to “stay sandy.” Some people used restroom sinks and water fountains at the Powerhouse Community Center instead. The resulting maintenance costs caused city officials to turn the showers back on in that location. Courtesy photo
Community Community Del Mar

Beachgoers use sinks, fountains to rinse sand

DEL MAR — In an effort to comply with a state mandate to reduce water use, Del Mar officials turned off the showers at all but one city beach and encouraged people to “stay sandy.” To help alleviate some of the mess they installed sand brushes at all locations where showers once flowed.

But beachgoers at Powerhouse Park would have none of that, opting instead to use drinking fountains and restroom sinks to rinse off.

The resulting maintenance and plumbing issues caused an increase in the cost of repairs, prompting the city to reactivate the showers in front of the Powerhouse Community Center.

On a more compliant note, by adhering to a requirement to limit outdoor irrigation to no more than two days a week with potable water the city has reduced its water purchases nearly 34 percent compared to 2013.

The reduction is in spite of an 8.5 percent increase caused by a major water main break in July on San Dieguito Drive.

“We applaud the community’s efforts,” said Kristen Krane, management services director. “It’s not easy to get to these high reduction amounts. We want to encourage them to keep up the good work.”

Earlier this year the governor imposed water restrictions to deal with a severe statewide drought. Del Mar had the option to limit outdoor irrigation to two days a week or implement other measures to achieve a 25 percent reduction.

The county’s smallest city chose the former but still exceeded the 25 percent decrease thanks to aggressive outreach and education programs such as utility bill inserts, coordination with the Del Mar Village Association to inform businesses, signage and an email address and mobile app to report water waste.

“We are aiming to do our part to reduce our water use by 25 percent … even though technically we’re not required to do so,” Krane said.