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Del Mar, Solana Beach turn off most beach showers

REGION — With summer in full swing and typical perfect temperatures, people are flocking to North County beaches.

But the time-honored ritual of rinsing sand off surfboards and feet is not currently on option in San Diego’s two smallest cities.

Although neither was required to do so, Del Mar and Solana Beach have shut off the faucets at all but one beach in each city to help meet state-mandated water reductions.

Showers were turned off the first week of June at three of Del Mar’s four beaches at Powerhouse Park and 20th and 25th streets, Kristen Crane, assistant to the city manager, said.

Just to the north, sand-rinsing is not available at Seascape and Tide Park, two of Solana Beach’s three beaches, Dan King, assistant to the city manager, said.

Showers remain on at the 17th Street safety center in Del Mar and Fletcher Cove in Solana Beach, the main beach in each city.

To help conserve water during California’s worst drought, park officials ordered outdoor showers at 38 state beaches to be turned off as of July 15.

“We coordinated with the state because they asked local jurisdictions to do that,” King said. “Fletcher Cove remains on because it’s the most accessible beach.”

Fletcher Cove and Del Mar’s safety center are also the locations of the main lifeguard centers.

Crane said in Del Mar the response has been mixed.

“The reactions, in my experience, have literally been split evenly,” she said. “Some people have expressed frustration and disappointment. Others have said it’s great and want to know why the showers are still on at the beach safety center.”

King said Solana Beach residents and visitors have been asking why the city chose Seascape and Tide Park.

“Once we explain it they understand,” he said.

In other efforts to cut back water use, mandated outdoor-watering schedules are being used to irrigate landscaping at city facilities in both cities.

That includes Shores, Powerhouse and Seagrove parks in Del Mar and Fletcher Cove in Solana Beach.

“La Colonia Park is already using reclaimed water so there are no changes there,” King said. “We’ve been proactive in the last few years, moving toward using drought-tolerant and native plants in all of our medians.

“We’ve been very cognizant of landscaping with new projects,” he added. “We’ll be looking at the fire station turf next.”

Crane said Del Mar officials have been looking at potential upgrades to indoor faucets and fixtures.

“But most are in pretty good shape from a water-efficiency standpoint,” she said.

King said Solana Beach is doing the same, starting with faucets and toilets at City Hall.

“We’ve been working with Santa Fe Irrigation District to see what faucets and toilets qualify and what rebates are available,” he said.

Neither city currently has plans to turn beach showers back on.

“We’ll revisit that when we get more information from the state,” Crane said.

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