Drought-stricken California has shut down outdoor showers across the state’s beaches this summer, forcing surfers and sunbathers to get creative when it comes time to shake off the sand.
Public rinse stations in all state-run beaches and parks will be off limits starting July 15 as the state battles a four-year dry spell. The severe condition has led Gov. Jerry Brown to order California communities to cut water use by 25 percent compared with 2013 levels.
California State Parks said its 278 parks have successfully met the water reduction mandate, but those areas with more water scarcity will have to further reduce consumption.
Todd Lewis, acting superintendent for the department’s Orange Coast district, said visitors should look for alternatives to the showers, such as using a broom to brush off their bodies or bringing their own water, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.
“Bring a bottle of water? How big? A tank? That is not a good idea,” Sara Israelsson told the newspaper as she finished rinsing at a public shower at Santa Monica State Beach.
She said she won’t swim in the ocean anymore if she can’t rinse herself off afterward.
While many beachgoers aren’t so thrilled about the showerheads running dry, some said the inconvenience was worth it to conserve water.
“Take your shirt off and dust your feet off,” said Brithany Mcginty, a visitor from Arizona. “We are in a drought.”
Shutting off public showers could save more than 18 million gallons of water annually, the department estimated.
“California is facing extremely severe drought conditions,” California State Parks director Lisa Mangat said in a press release. “It is important for all Californians to conserve water at home, at work and even when recreating outdoors.”
For now, it will be “ocean air, salty hair” until beachgoers reach home for a cool rinse.