Athens Review, Athens, Texas

August 6, 2013

Splash could wait

With water restrictions, plans may be different

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens — Athens’ much-awaited attraction at Kiwanis Park is ready to make a splash, but its opening is awaiting one important element.

The Splash Pad’s opening is being delayed by water restrictions implemented by the city due to the lack of rain.  With the start of Athens schools less than three weeks away, the chances of children having an opportunity to use the new facility before Aug. 26 are slim.

“The work on it is finished,” Kiwanis Vice President Colin Barret said.” We can’t do anything while the water restrictions are in place.”

On July 8, the City of Athens enacted Stage I of its Drought Contingency Plan calling for a  voluntary 10-percent decrease in water usage. Kiwanis officials stated from the beginning of the project that they would limit or turn off the pad in times of water conservation.

Barrett said Kiwanis officials had thought about opening the attraction briefly for a grand opening, but that doesn’t seem likely.

In 2012, the city activated Stage 1 of the drought contingency plan in September. The plan was also enacted in the historically-hot summer of 2011, when the city went more than a month without significant rainfall.

The contingency plan states that Stage 1 of the plan is activated during times of mild water shortage conditions. Those include daily production of potable water that exceeds 4.5 million gallons per day, or the water surface elevation of Lake Athens drops to 436.90 feet mean sea level.

When it does open, Kiwanis officials said the Splash Pad will use 36,000 gallons of water per day at full capacity, less than one percent of the  4.5-million-gallon threshold. In addition, the Kiwanis organization can place a timer on the system and only operate it during set times of the day.

Despite the delay in opening, Kiwanis members are still working toward making the Splash Pad attractive to those who visit. The members are inviting individuals to sponsor bricks to be placed at the facility.  The bricks can be purchased for $50 each.