Gerrie Schipske, Water Ratepayer Advocate and candidate for the Water Replenishment District #3, today blasted WRD Director John Allen, who is running for re-election, for refusing to help Long Beach with a serious water issue created by the “duck pond” located in El Dorado Park West. Schipske represented the area containing the El Dorado duck pond for eight years as a member of the city council.
She issued the following statement.
“WRD is the largest ‘groundwater’ agency in California. The agency is supposed to be helping create groundwater catchment areas so that our city has a reliable source of drinking water as we face serious drought and water shortages.
“Last year, I contacted Mr. Allen about the duck pond near Willow which is badly in need of repair. The duck pond is actually a stormwater catchment and turned into a duck pond because people left ducks there and many wild ones flew in. The sidewalk surrounding it is badly broken. The pond gets filled with algae because it is not properly aerated and people throw bread into the water, creating bacteria. Also, the parking lot (when it rains) has oil run off which pollutes and the golf course sprays pesticide on the course which runs off into the pond.
When there has been raining, the pond, and surrounding park area flood and run off on to Willow Street. In the dry season, the city has to use water to water the surrounding park.
Structuring drainage combined with modified recharge wells can be used to catch water runoff. This modification of water catchment areas could make the duck pond area dry quickly after a rain so the activities of people are not bothered when utilizing the open space provided. Surface runoff water could be absorbed in an open aquifer so that the hydrological balance always be maintained. Adequacy groundwater in the area could be used to water the park and back up for clean water by creating wells and reservoir stocks.
I so informed Mr. Allen and asked if WRD could turn this pond into a groundwater catchment and reconfigure the surrounding area. The land on which El Dorado Park sits has a low water table and possibly could be dug down to let the natural water rise into a new pond. It floods when we have heavy rains. Just north of the duck pond is Willow Street which severely floods when it rains; somehow that water could be directed to the pond.
This could be a win-win for WRD and those of us who want that pond fixed with a sustainable solution. Mr. Allen responded that the duck pond is ‘LB’s problem.’
The last time I checked, the water ratepayers of Long Beach have been continually assessed to pay WRD for its ‘pumping charges.’ This assessment has increased the monthly water bills Long Beach ratepayers are charged. Developing a sustainable groundwater system in Long Beach is WRD’s problem and should have been funded.”
Gerrie Schipske is an attorney and water ratepayer advocate who is seeking election to District #3 of the Water Replenishment District.