In face of drought, critics say 'Slide the City' doesn't hold water

In face of drought, critics say 'Slide the City' doesn't hold water
A giant water slide, like this one on Main Street in Salt Lake City, is being proposed for downtown L.A. (Kristin Murphy / Deseret News)

More than 6,000 people have signed an online petition to stop "Slide the City" from setting up on Olive Avenue on Sept. 27, saying it is "extremely irresponsible" for any city in California to allow an event featuring a giant water slide to take place given the record dryness being felt across the state.

The event must still be given the green light from the Los Angeles Public Works Department, which will review the application and take into account any concerns. The agency has not said when it will issue its decision.


"Everything is considered," public works spokesman Paul Gomez said.

The event's organizer, T.R. Gourley, said he was aware of concerns but chose to bring the slide to Los Angeles only after some had expressed interest in it.

"I think we want to come to a city that wants us to come," he said.

Gourley, who lives in California, said he is well aware of the drought, adding that he had staffers doing their part to conserve water: go without showering for two weeks.

The slide will use 12,000 to 16,000 gallons of reclaimed water, which Gourley said they reuse and treat throughout the event. He added that the amount of water would be enough to fill an average-size swimming pool.

His group plans to take direction from the ‎L.A. Department of Water and Power to determine how to dispose of the water.

Concerns over the massive slide come after about 20 million gallons of water flooded the UCLA campus after a pipeline break.

Even before the break, Gov. Jerry Brown issued emergency declarations calling for strict water conservation efforts, including urging homeowners to allow their lawns to go brown. Since then, local agencies have been pushing water conservation messages hard.

Michelle Vargas, a spokeswoman for the DWP, acknowledged that the proposed event "is not consistent with the water conservation lifestyle in Los Angeles."

An opposing petition to save the event is also circulating online, but it has significantly less support.

Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA