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Oak Park Reroutes Wading Pool Water to Nourish Tree Roots

The City of Santa Barbara has made the drought-conscious decision to reuse the water from the Oak Park wading pool rather than discarding the water into the sewer.

The Parks and Recreation Department and Fire Department will be working together to pump approximately 16,000 gallons of dechlorinated water from the wading pool and will use the water to irrigate many of the large oak trees in Oak Park.

“There are over 800 trees in Oak Park — 595 of those are coast live oaks, the species from which Oak Park got its name.” said Tim Downey, urban forest superintendent for the City of Santa Barbara.

Downey added that many of the larger oak trees date from the era of the park’s acquisition by the City in 1904.

“A large tree the size of many of the Oak Park specimens usually requires at minimum two thousand gallons of water each day. When it’s not getting that, it can cut evaporation and get by with less, but that causes stress to the tree,” explained Downey. “The trees in Oak Park are stressed, but we are monitoring them and will take necessary measures to keep them healthy.”

Parks Manager Santos Escobar put the situation into perspective.

“The water from the wading pool isn't going to make up for the effects of the current serious drought; Oak Park is going to remain a little dry and ‘gold’ while the drought persists,” Escobar said. “But it will be a help, and we thank the City of Santa Barbara Fire Department for helping us make sure this water isn't wasted.”

Fire Department personnel will use the opportunity to practice pumping water from a static source, a process often utilized when water supplies are interrupted or unavailable during earthquakes and wildfires.

The exercise occurred Monday, Sept. 28, 2015 at approximately 9 a.m. at the Oak Park wading pool.

— Summers Case is the marketing coordinator for the Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation Department.


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