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Water shortage means no spray parks in 90-degree heat

By Joanne Beck
Spray park closed at Austin
Batavia's spray park in Austin Park has been closed due to water supply issues in the city and Genesee County, and soaring temperatures. Its county cousin in Le Roy has also been put on temporary hold.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Just as temperatures peaked near 90 degrees Thursday afternoon, Genesee County officials shared the disheartening news for folks that had pulled on a pair of shorts intending to cool off at the nearest spray park.

Count Shelly Fox, Jennifer Benkleman and Connor among them.

"I'm really disappointed," Fox said as the trio sat near the base of a drying spray park with a hot beating sun in Austin Park Thursday. "We can't afford air conditioning, and this was going to be our summer outlet to come cool off."

Due to a combination of hot weather and the failure of a pump controller at the city’s wellfield, the county called for a mandatory water restriction until 10 p.m. Thursday night. 

County Manager Matt Landers asked that Le Roy and Batavia officials each close their respective spray parks, in addition to issuing a laundry list of reminders for residents to curb their water usage.

Landers said that he is “hoping the demand subsides tomorrow with the weather cooling a little, plus repairs at the plant” will keep the splash pad closures temporary.

“However, we are monitoring closely and will send out an alert tomorrow again if necessary,”  he said.

He knew that Le Roy’s facility was closed and referred The Batavian to city management to confirm that the same decision was made to close the spray park at Austin Park. 

Yes, it was, City Manager Rachael Tabelski said. 

"The city spray park is closed currently while we try to recover water in the city's tanks. The pump for well C is down, and we are unable to draw enough water from the aquifer to keep up with the demand. City of Batavia and Genesee County have been in constant communication throughout today, looking at ways to preserve water and get the pump back online as soon as possible," she said. "We appreciate everyone understanding the water restrictions that the county has put in place and hope residents and businesses can follow them until we can get well back up and running."

In a press release sent out Thursday afternoon, Assistant County Manager Tammi Ferringer said that the current water demand is exceeding the infrastructure’s capability to produce clean water and that restrictions are necessary to ensure that the limited public water supply is “distributed equitably among all residents and essential services.”

“The cooperation of all residents, businesses and institutions is vital,” she said.

The following restrictions are effective immediately:

  • Outdoor watering is strictly prohibited. Outdoor watering includes lawns, gardens, splash pads, car washing and other non-essential water uses.
  • Do not fill swimming pools. Turn off decorative fountains or any other water-consuming recreational purposes.
  • Shortened Showers: Limit showers to a maximum of five minutes. Turn off the tap while lathering or brushing your teeth.
  • Wait to use dishwashers and washing machines.

Help raise awareness: Spread the word about the water restrictions to friends, neighbors, and community members to ensure widespread compliance. These restrictions may cause inconvenience, but they are crucial to effectively managing the current water shortage.

Dry spray park in Batavia
Photo by Howard Owens.

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