San Luis Reservoir

Scenes like this might be common in California, but don't tell that to San Diego supervisors, who are building an 830-foot-long fountain as part of a $47 million government center project.

San Diego apparently did not receive the water memo

Apparently news hasn’t made it to San Diego that the rest of California is experiencing a severe drought. But as long as the tourists keep their flow of vacation dollars moving through the economy there, who cares, right?

San Diego has a number of picturesque fountains. While the Bea Evenson Fountain in Balboa Park is perhaps the more iconic of the city’s fountains, a new and much larger fountain to rival that is currently under construction.

A new 830-foot-long water fountain is part of San Diego’s 15-acre Waterfront Park project, which includes a massive county government complex. A video provides an update on the fountain project.

The video shows crews running tests on a working mock-up of the fountain, which is not the real fountain, but an expensive research project that will serve as a dry run for the actual fountain that is planned. Once the research is complete on the practice fountain, the real one will be built and the practice one torn down.

I’d like to have the money they wasted on that boondoggle!

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Design teams from San Francisco and elsewhere conceptualized this idea back in about 2004, according to the video. In government-speak that means it was well thought out and planned.

The mock-up was designed to test the idea of the much larger pool. Good idea! A leak was discovered in the test fountain. While engineers claim to have a “theory” about how to fix the leak, an on-camera interview with one engineer admits that they don’t know how to test their theory before building the actual fountain.

Along with the drought, the economic collapse that has choked the rest of California has apparently not reached San Diego either since the project includes a massive $47.4 million price tag.

San Diego Supervisor Dianne Jacob calls the park “an investment in healthy, safe recreation and increased quality of life.” So that’s how the term “investment” is defined.

Thankfully the county is building the project “with the environment in mind.” Those environmental advances include low-energy lighting and the use of recycled water. I don’t think that flushing sound has anything to do with bathrooms.

Drought-tolerant plants are also part of the project. Call it planning ahead in case water deliveries to the city’s other fountains are ever cut back by the state or federal government.

Supervisor Jacob might want to rethink her term “investment” in the context of a project that will use massive amounts of water – an endangered resource in the northern nether-regions of her state. Recycled or not, that water has to come from somewhere.

So, while engineers are playing in the water in San Diego, California farmers are wondering if they will remain in business another season with promised water allocations of 5 percent from the State Water Project and a likelihood of similar deliveries from federal water sources.

The good news is San Diego remains open to tourists. Go see what $47 million and a little a lot of water can build.

TAGS: Legislative
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