Water Park

UPDATE: It appears the discrepancy is because the city’s  water tally only included the pool, while the water district was including the pool, irrigation, toilets, showers, etc. When all of that is factored in, the city thinks it would be closer to four million gallons a year, but that number is not definitive.

It’s still unclear how much water Fremont’s new water park is going to use. Earlier this year, the water district said it would be about 6.2 million gallons a year — the equivalent of 50 single-family homes.

But the city said that was way off, and that the most it would use would be about 1.1 million gallons — equivalent to about nine homes.

It turns out the district is using figures from the project’s architect and the city is using projections from the pool manager, said Water District GM Paul Piraino. He said the two agencies haven’t reconciled their numbers yet, and that, obviously, they have some concern about the discrepancy.

Matt Artz


  1. In a city of 200,000+, we have probably 50,000 residences? Not to mention a few businesses, and maybe some agriculture.

    So whether it’s equivalent to 9 or 50 homes, it seems to be a trickle compared to current city water usage. I assume it’s in line with Shadow Cliffs, Raging Waters, etc.

    Whatever issues there might be about a city-run water park, water usage is a nit.

  2. Hmmm – they haven’t had time to get their stories straight. The difference between 50 homes and 9 homes is a pretty big difference, like the difference between 6.2 and 1.1 million gallons a year.

    And they say that nine homes use 1.1 million gallons a year? I’m pretty bad at math, but it looks to me like that means that one home uses approximately 100,000 gallons a year? What kind of homes are these? Do they all have large pools? Enormous lawns? Are they washing fleets of cars or doing commercial amounts of laundry?

    As serious as the drought issues are, they are not the real problem with the water park. It is an open-air personal injury playland just waiting for an accident to happen.

    Also, as another poster has noted, when has the City ever run a profit-making enterprise? They can’t even keep the boat rental straight on the lake, much less keep their own budgets under control, but they think this will make money? Please.

  3. Perry said “It is an open-air personal injury playland just waiting for an accident to happen.”

    I commonly hear that Fremont should have built something more like the Newark Aquatic center. But isn’t that “an indoor personal injury playland just waiting for an accident to happen?”

    Nowadays, everything is a “personal injury playland just waiting for an accident to happen.” Our streets, our parks, our sidewalks.

    So that sounds like another red herring to me, same as the water usage.

  4. Monday, June 2, 1997 – A 17-year-old girl was killed and 32 teenagers were injured when a water slide collapsed at Waterworld USA park in Concord, California. Six suffered life-threatening injuries when a section of the Banzai Pipeline broke off.

    The family of a 17-year-old girl who died in a 1997 water-slide collapse has settled a negligence lawsuit for $1.7 million.

    SANTA CLARA, Calif. July 2007 — A 4-year-old boy drowned Thursday in a wave pool at the Paramount Great America amusement park in Santa Clara,

    Case closed – an accident waiting to happen.

    BTW, if you’ve been here a while, Mike, you’ll know that Newark consistently runs pretty much everything better than Fremont does. When I was growing up here, the common joke was the Newark was the developmentally delayed infant left on our doorstep, largely because Fremont had it’s nose out of joint because Newark had the sense not to go all-in to be part of Fremont. Newark has “grown up” to show us different. I would trust Newark to hold my wallet; Fremont not so much.

  5. What is the electrical power consumption of those huge pumps for the water etc.

  6. Perry, do the math. at 6 million gallons for 50 homes thats only 330 gallons a day. That’s less than what it takes to water the lawn for an average size home. 4 people take showers and that’s easily 100 gallons (50 hot and 50 cold)+ laundry + dishwasher + landscaping and you easily have 500 gpd / house. Pools use very little water. As a pool manager for a 100,000 gallon pool, the only water we use is to replenish the water the evaporates or splashes out and that’s not 300 gallons per day.

  7. John – I may have mentioned that math is not my strong-suit. It sounds like most people use a lot more water than my family does.

    Given your experience, perhaps you can confirm a theory for me. Wouldn’t an outdoor complex like the water park lose more water to evaporation during the course of a hot summer than the enclosed pools at Newark’s Silliman Center?

  8. Someone makes a good point – I think it was California GUy or maybe it was Coyote Bill – about the electrical consumption this mess requires. I am shocked that Weickowski who has been such a “green” proponent in the past did not adamantly and aggressively object to this project on the basis of it’s “Carbon footprint” alone

    Clearly Bob has changed his stripes when it comes to defending “green” interests.

    Let’s see – 1 gallon weighs in at 8.345 pounds per gallon. How many 100’s of gallons per minute are lifted to the top of that blue and yellow monstrosity ?

    How many 1000’s of KVA’s are consumed turning those pumps each hour ?

  9. Perry and Irvington –

    Do you know how many guys get killed in 880 freeway. I recommend shutting it down :D. You also know there is crime in schools sometimes. Should we shutdown schools also?

    Fremont is in a bad state but when I say that I compare it with cities in peninsula. But Newark and UC will always be poor cousins of fremont. Those cities will never have an upscale community. They might get a few tax dollars from a mall or a shopping center. Around these parts schools are very important. Even the best schools of Newark and UC are on par with only the average/bad schools in fremont.

  10. Anon

    I think its a frivolous argument that you make. The way to save energy is not to cut down on development. Rather do the same things more efficiently. If people drive their cars with their brains, you know how much gas they can save. You know much energy can be saved if people knew how to use their heaters/ac in their homes. I can go on and on. Focus on energy saving should be on these things rather than limiting development.

  11. Andy,

    Anon could be right about the carbon footprint of the water park. This is an impact that will have to be taken into consideration in future construction and development.

    There is a baseline of risk that all people assume simply by living. It is necessary to use freeways to get to work, so people assume that risk. It is necessary to educate children, so parents assume some risk while working to minimize it.

    The use of a water park is a frivolous risk which returns such a low level of benefit that it is questionable whether it is reasonable to assume that risk. People will make that judgment individually, but I guarantee that when injuries do occur, the City will be sued by the victims.

    Considering the other services which could have been funded by the money that went to build the water park, services which do not carry the level of risk that the water park carries, I believe that the money could have been much better spent.

    Given the current economic situation, I believe that the time is over for frivolous things in this City. What funding we do have should be used responsibly to provide basic services like street maintenance, library, police and fire. Until we can cover those bases adequately, we have no business in the “fun” business.

    Also, regarding Newark and Union City, it depends upon how you gauge the success of a city. I do not believe that a city is successful simply because it possesses amenities that some consider to be “upscale”.

    When was the last time that you heard of the citizens of Newark being forced to band together to do the work that should have been done by their Council, their elected representatives? The only protests I can recall in Newark were after the death of Gwen Araujo. Newark’s Mayor has been in office for sixteen consecutive terms with no recall efforts. When a city performs its function and provides services to its residents, the whistles and bells are unnecessary.

  12. Andy us right of course, and my argument is not against “development” per se. This is a form of “development” that is extravagant in its electrical consumption. . . .

    It’s the community development equivalent of trying to sell Coupe de Ville’s in todays energy-sensitive world. you dont have to be a rocket scientist to get this point.

    Why do you position my concern for the energy demands of the water park as being *against* development – it isn’t development per se – it’s the TYPE of development ?

  13. Andy said “This is a form of “development” that is extravagant in its electrical consumption.”

    Compared to what? Do we have actual numbers?

    [Posted in the dark from my steam-powered computer, heated with “clean coal”.]

  14. Correction: Anon, not Andy, asserted the electrical consumption is extravagant. Sorry about the mixup.

  15. Mike TV asks – Compared to what? Do we have actual numbers?

    Make a list of the 5 or 10 things our community could do with this space – I spent thirty seconds and came up with – a softball diamond, an auditorium, a swimming pool and a lazy river, a gymnasium. Rack these out in order of operating power consumption. I’ll wager a city pink slip that the water slide has to be at or very near the top.

    You dont have to be a rocket scientist( Bob W. listen up) to understand that there are some really big pumps (much larger capacity than a “flat” community swimming pool – for example) lifting a lot of water many tens of feet into the air. Lots of BTU’s or KVA’s or Joules being consumed getting that dead weight all the way up there.

    I suppose that if one wanted, you could determine the weight of a gallon of water, multiply that by the running capacity of pumps needed to feed the slides, multiply that by the number of vertical feet you have to lift, convert the resultant to either BTU’s or horsepower and convert that to total KVA’s . . . dont forget the operational losses of the pumps and motors, you dont convert every KVA to hydraulic pressure – some of it gets lost in the form of heat.

    The point is simply that this attraction consumes a great deal of electrical energy as compared to other things we could do with this same location. . . . . not to mention the thing looks like a blue and yellow nightmare.

  16. Anon, good list, but I think you left out the one thing that never goes out of style, trees. And, they give back; CO2, shelter to animals and shade to people. Plant a row of saplings today and they grow into a magnificent grove of mature trees. Value added. Buildings and facilities go out of style, trees never do.

  17. I’d be 100% in favor of trees, too, but don’t forget the services that could have been provided to residents using that $14 million, not to mention the ongoing operating costs and the costs of personal injury litigation. Maybe they could have started responding to burgular alarms again.

    Of course, maybe we’ll all be treated to the vision of Bob Wasserman in his old dude trunks taking the inaugural slide into the pool. Yikes!

  18. Anon said “Make a list of the 5 or 10 things our community could do with this space – I spent thirty seconds and came up with – a softball diamond, an auditorium, a swimming pool and a lazy river, a gymnasium. Rack these out in order of operating power consumption. I’ll wager a city pink slip that the water slide has to be at or very near the top.”

    But you’re still just guessing. We have actual numbers about water usage. Let’s see some actual numbers about electricity usage.

    And how do those figures compare to something like Nummi or Costco?

    There are plenty of legitimate criticisms of the water park. The final cost. Competition from other water parks. Relative utility compared to Newark’s year-round indoor water park. Whether a city should even own such a facility.

    More broadly, how do citizens influence such things before they get built?

    Meanwhile, perhaps PG&E can install one of their “smart meters” and scale back the water pumps when electricity demand peaks.

  19. Mike TeeVee asks… More broadly, how do citizens influence such things before they get built?

    There are several ways in which people can find out about these projects when they are in the early planning stages.

    1.) Attend city council, planning commission, recreational commission, etc meetings. The water park has been a topic of discussion at all three of these for quite a few years, from its very early concept stages on through to final designs and construction.

    2.) Read the agendas for those meetings on line. It only takes a couple of minutes each week to find out what’s going to be discussed and then decide if you want to attend.

    3.) Attend the capital spending meetings. These meetings are where the real meat of proposed projects are discussed.

    4.) Sit back and wait to read about it in the Argus or someone tells you about it. This appears to be the preferred method of most people. It’s a shame as it’s the method with the least potential for people to influence projects.

    Which of the above methods do you (collectively) prefer?

  20. AMacRae said: “There are several ways in which people can find out about these projects when they are in the early planning stages.”

    That’s not really what I asked. I’m assuming people can find out about the projects at the planning stage. Been there, done that.

    But once a person or group knows about a project, and has some concerns, can they realistically influence the outcome?

    That’s the real question. Whether it’s Sabercat or the ballpark or the water park or transportation projects, it seems once the city (council/government) has its mind made up, citizen input is irrelevant.

  21. Mike TeeVee asks… But once a person or group knows about a project, and has some concerns, can they realistically influence the outcome?

    Yes, they can. I’ve seen it happen over and over again, most recently with the new fire station and the new community park in Niles.

    Then opines… it seems once the city (council/government) has its mind made up, citizen input is irrelevant.

    I guess it’s difficult to prove, but I have seen it happen again and again. But – it doesn’t help to come in at the tail end and only then start to become familiar with the project and only then begin to raise questions.

    I’ve seen the city council go from a 5/0 or 4/1 vote for or against something to the opposite based on what people had to say at the meeting. More often, a vote is delayed while the concerns raised are examined. In any regard, don’t forget, the citizens are the city. You have to be proactive if you want to make a difference.

    By-the-way, while it is difficult for an unknown to be appointed to the planning commission (or someone who opposes the mayor on key issues,) there are many city boards and commissions where a difference can be made and most are very eager for new members.

  22. Regarding the water park… I think it will be a lot of fun!

    I’m curious about the electric bill, but not ready to write it off as an environmental disaster. I’m a tree-hugger, but have some perspective here!

    Financially I can see it may seem frivolous, but we already have baseball diamonds and play-grounds. It is replacing the old swim lagoon that I used to take my kids too. I expect it was paid for by bond money, which is intended to make capital improvements not fix pot-holes.

    I was at Great America / Boomerang Bay the day that child drowned, though I was not in the wave pool at the time. Very sad indeed, but I’m not going to stop taking my kids to water parks. Since that accident, the water parks are very pushy about putting life vests on small children. I’m also sure they learned some lessons from the slide collapse. I know that if I see the staff unable to control the situation I’ll be talking to the manager on my way out.

    The Silman center is fun, but having an outdoor park in the area will be a good thing too.

    Speaking as a parent, I’m looking forward to it opening…

  23. I agree, Bruce. Peeking at the park through the fences this weekend made me realize how fun the park will be.

    I also realized how unobtrusive the placement of the water park is relative the the rest of the lake. With all the people out, I really felt the lake’s role as a city center this weekend, and can only imagine the water park will draw even more energy.

    And, it’s only an aesthetic nightmare for those who live across the Paseo. But, they can always start their own group and give it an important advocacy themed name like Fremont Utilities Conservation Management Entity, or FUC ME for short.

  24. Thanks for the link Bbox231; WOW, does that sound familiar or WHAT!

  25. That is a great link; talk about deja vu. Clearly, I have to start reading the Voice more often.

  26. Interesting article. I guess I should expect that people on this blog would know more about how the park was funded than I would!

    Still think it will be fun, let’s hope it doesn’t become a money-hole.

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