[LA FEATURE]Running Dry

LA FEATURE

Drought-stricken California communities face a third-consecutive dry year with no relief in sight

Petition Seeks to Stop Downtown Water Slide Event During Drought

The slide uses between 12,000 and 16,000 gallons of water to operate, organizers say

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Thousands of people are trying to stop a company from holding a giant slip-n-slide event because they say the event would be inappropriate with a severe drought in place. Gordon Tokumatsu reports for NBC4 News at 5 p.m. from downtown Los Angeles Monday, Aug. 11, 2014.

    Online petitioners are calling on organizers to halt plans for an upcoming event that would bring a 1,000-foot-long water slide to downtown Los Angeles during one of the worst droughts in state history.

    The event, called Slide the City, would set up the vinyl slide on Olive Street from 3rd to 6th streets, using 12,000 to 16,000 gallons of water, according to the company.

    An online petition seeking 5,000 signatures was started last week in opposition of the event, calling the water attraction "extremely irresponsible." As of 8 p.m. Monday, more than 2,700 signatures had been collected.

    "I love California, and I refuse to see our precious resources be wasted on such a careless thing," said petition creator Karina Soto on her Facebook page.

    Slide the City tours the nations setting up the slide in various cities. Company cofounder John Malfatto said that the first event in Salt Lake City was well-received, and he is surprised by the backlash in Los Angeles.

    "I wasn't expecting it all," Malfatto said. "I'm a little surprised by it."

    Malfatto said that his company intends to respect the local laws and has the option of trucking in the water needed to run the slide.

    But some Southern Californians, well aware of the restrictions from the state to conserve water or face steep fines, find the event to be a waste of water and unnecessary.

    "This sounds like fun, but not when we are in a drought," a petition signer said. "Perhaps when our state isn't in dire need of water, this would be a grand idea."

    The event has yet to be approved by the city and the company is holding off on selling tickets until they are given the green light to go.

    "We definitely don't want to cause any problems," Malfatto said. "We just want to put on a fun event."

    On its Facebook page, Slide the City posted, "In our effort to preserve water, we recycle water used on the slide throughout the day, treat it with pool chemicals, and dispose of it properly #waterconservation."

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