At 8:00 a.m. on July 12, the multiple fountains in front of Oceanside's downtown Civic Center were turned back on, spraying water into the shallow pool.
In September of 2014, the fountains were turned off and a green construction fence erected. Leaks in the pools were causing excessive water use. The city’s plan was to eventually connect to a recycled water main that was coming from Camp Pendleton, with plans to go down Coast Highway.
Before repairs were completed, in May of 2015, because of the impending drought, the governor declared a mandatory water-reduction plan. The fountain was turned off for an indefinite period. A blue, decorative, iron fence was placed around the site, but city officials said it would be only temporary, until the drought was over.
Of the water that is now gushing, “It's only temporary,” said the city’s building maintenance supervisor Tony Visco. “It will only be on for about a week."
The fountain had to be operating in order to keep the pump’s warranty in effect. An official from the pool company was on site all morning, helping in the operation.
In actuality, the pools were filled about three weeks ago by the fire department. Then the water was pumped out again and several small leaks and minor problems fixed.
“Everyone’s excited to see them back on,” said Visco of the 30 spraying nozzles that shoot water six feet into the air; they haven’t worked in years. While the water was dirty from residue that had built up in the lines, filters were working to eventually clear the water up.
City manager Michelle Skaggs Lawrence said the city must get back down to a Stage I water-usage level. Most cities have yet to be released from the governor’s Stage II water restrictions. “But we’re working on that. The city’s goal is to engage conservation,” she said, also mentioning plans to connect to a recycled-water source.
When ready, the fountains can be ordered turned back on administratively — as in, the city council doesn’t need to approve it.
When turned back on, will the decorative fence come down as well? “Me, personally, I’d like the fence to come down. The fountain is piece of artwork,” said Skaggs Lawrence.