Green areas in Balboa Park may soon go brown

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SAN DIEGO -- Green areas at some parks around San Diego, including Balboa Park, could soon go brown as water officials work to cut down on water use.

“There may be some non-essential turf areas throughout the park,” said John Helminski with the city’s newly formed Drought Task Force, charged with finding ways to cut the city of San Diego’s water use by the state mandated 25 percent.

The task force will be taking aim at the city’s biggest water consumer: the Department of Parks and Recreation, he said. That department is responsible for about 65 percent of the roughly 3.5 billion gallons of water used by the city in 2014. A lot of that water is used to keep places like Balboa Park looking green and lush.

As water officials look for ways to cut use, parts of San Diego’s most iconic park could soon tun  brown, said Helminski.

“We’ll choose wisely as to what areas of the park can be browned that have the least impact to the public,” the public utility official said.

The city is already working on water saving measures like cutting irrigation to street medians where potable water was being used to water turf.  Park fountains have been shut off and in government buildings, like the Public Utilities Department in Kearny Mesa, grass is being replaced with drought resistant plants. Other city-owned green areas that could be affected are yards or gardens outside city libraries and fire stations.

The Drought Task Force will have its first meeting next week.

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  • liam

    We could either keep balboa park looking nice and usable or make a developer rich and cram 700 units of high density housing downtown.

  • James

    Perfect. Millions of dollars of plants being ruined. Statewide it could be billions. The trees in the park in my area are already dead. All these dead plants are a fire hazard. It’s as if someone was following a recipe for creating a giant fire. Ingredients: don’t build any new water projects, wait for drought, then stop watering the plants.

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