BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -
Bakersfield city leaders have decided to shut down all 9 city spray parks. The closure is happening two days earlier than planned because the state water ban is now in effect.
Officials with the state water board didn’t expect plans to be approved so quickly, but now that the new water restrictions are in place people will simply have to find other ways to stay cool.
During the hot summer months, Ronnie Richardson spends most of his time at Jastro Park enjoying the water along side his young son.
“I think it’s totally necessary to have a water park like this when they install them a while back, I thought it was a good idea,” he said.
He’s not the only one using the spray park to find relief from the scorching sun.
“We run around and play in the water and stay cool,” said 10-year-old Michael Medina of Bakersfield.
“Play in the water and get wet,” said 7-year-old Alexi Timmin.
The State Office of Administrative Law approved the Drought Emergency Water Conservation Regulations and are now in effect. That means, all spray parks in Bakersfield are now closed.
“I think it’s really not fare to the community to shut down a water park that everyone kind of depends on to bring their kids and cool off and enjoy the summer,” said Richardson.
The new water restrictions are designed to cut outdoor water use until the drought ends. City leaders expect to re-open spray parks at least by April 2015.
“It’s kind of sad because all these kids come out here and enjoy it so much and its good for parents. They get to spend good quality time with their kids out here,” he adds.
Children playing in the water at Jastro knew the day was coming, but didn’t realize it was being moved up to today.
“I’ll feel really sad,” said Tinnin.
Eight-year-old Nicole Soto and her family visit the park regularly and are now planning what to do next.
“When sometimes it’s hot, you’re going to be sweaty and you won’t get to go to the park because it’s going to be closed,” said Soto.
The director of Bakersfield’s recreation and parks department says although the spray parks are now closed, free open swimming is still available at Martin Luther King and Jefferson Pool.
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