Two Hydration Stations Added to Santa Barbara Parks

Source: Community Environmental Council

The Community Environmental Council (CEC) is proud to announce the addition of two bottle-filling hydration stations in Alameda and Shoreline parks. CEC [hosted] a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, September 17 at 11:00 a.m. at the Alameda Park hydration station, located near the Kids World playground.

City of Santa Barbara Mayor Cathy Murillo [spoke], in addition to representatives from CEC and project partners El Gato Channel Foundation, and City of Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation Department. Commenting on the impact these new hydration stations will have on residents and tourists enjoying the parks, Mayor Murillo observed, “They will encourage everyone to use refillable bottles and embrace a sustainable lifestyle.”

CEC’s Rethink the Drink program started providing hydration stations to regional schools in 2010. Managed by Kathi King, CEC’s Climate Education and Leadership Director, the program aims to reduce dependence on single-use plastic bottles while teaching kids and staff why these efforts matter to the environment. More than 100 hydration stations are at schools throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties thanks to Rethink the Drink, keeping students and staff hydrated through more than 6 million refills to date. King has also led assemblies on plastic reduction for more than 37,000 students of all ages at participating schools.

“Expanding to public parks is a natural progression of our Rethink the Drink program to create community wellbeing,” stated King. “This synergistic solution reduces plastic waste while increasing public access to safe, clean water, and it could not have happened without our partnership with El Gato Channel Foundation and the City of Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation Department.”

Putting hydration stations in public parks has been a longtime program goal for Rethink the Drink and moves forward efforts to reduce plastic waste through CEC’s Circular Economy initiative. The new hydration stations feature a quick-fill mechanism for water bottles, a regular water fountain spout, and a dog bowl. CEC worked with the Parks and Recreation Department to choose the location of the hydration stations. Selecting Alameda Park had particular meaning since CEC has hosted the Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival here since 2009. Shoreline Park is also significant due to its proximity to the ocean where so much of our plastic waste ends up.

City of Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation Director Jill Zachary commented, “Parks & Recreation is pleased to partner with CEC and El Gato Channel Foundation. Water bottle filling stations are a great addition to City parks.”

Two key collaborators from the El Gato Channel Foundation – Board Member Gina Giannetto and Foundation Grants Manager Torrie Cutbirth – spoke to why they felt passionate about the project, and why CEC was critical to its success: “We were thrilled to bring hydration stations to two city parks, providing equitable access to water in these public spaces. Every step we take towards reducing single use plastics is a step in the right direction. CEC brought together their track record of impactful programming, partnerships, and deep community networks to streamline the process and make the project a huge success.”

This project would not have been possible without the generosity of the El Gato Channel Foundation, an organization that recognizes that reducing waste is key to addressing the plastic pollution crisis.


Written by Jillian Hall

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  1. I agree with you. The Mission Rose Garden has gotten completely out of control. Every weekend there are huge bashes with catering companies, speakers, booze, etc. I think we should have a society that allows civil people to have wine in our parks, but the Rose Garden as site of everyone’s mega bashes complete with serving staff, loudspeakers, tents, etc. is atrocious misuse of public space. I don’t care if they pay for permits to do this, it’s really awful and not in keeping with the spirit of the area or of allowing the park to truly be accessible to all. Many of the parties are set up down between the actual rose bushes. If I lived on Plaza Rubio I’d have gone nuclear by now.

  2. Kudos but I never feel comfortable using these. Who knows who had their grubby fingers up in them. I’d rather just fill up my mega Klean Kanteen to the max than drink out of these. But to each his own. I’ve seen people refilling Nalgenes in airport bathrooms, so clearly there are plenty of people who will use this.

  3. Too bad people like the idea of having a “church” as a backdrop for their outdoor wedding in our public parks, but don’t like the idea of paying a church to rent their facilities, which have kitchens, sound systems and ceremony and reception set-ups already in place. Plus you don’t have the lousy outdoor acoustics, or the sun shining in someone’s faces ruining the event for either the guests or the bride’s photographer. There are plenty of other parks, like Ehlings or Oak Park that have sets ups for large gatherings. Ruining the Rose Garden for the general public to enjoy, and then “stealing” the Old Mission for a photo backdrop is really an abuse.

  4. Doing A (water bottle fill station) to ultimately get C rarely works (maybe fewer single use plastic water bottles)
    If you want fewer single use water bottles, just demand it. People can bring their own reusable bottles, if they can’t go more than a few minutes without “rehydration”.

  5. A ribbon-cutting ceremony for a drinking fountain? Who doesn’t bring something to drink with them? If they don’t, well they will have to wait until they get home… oh no!!! How much did these cost and how much did the celebration to acknowledge themselves cost?

  6. I suspect these water outlets were in a long term parks masterplan, and had nothing to do with Murillo’s”leadership”, except sharing the common denominator of being all wet. Kudos to Parks and Rec supervisor Jill Zachary for her careful curating of our parks and increasing more public active use instead of allowing them to be places of idle and often mischievous concentration. Dog Park in McKensie Park, the exercise stations at the Bird Refuge and Dwight Murphy fields;, clearing tents out of Chase Palm Park, and the trapeze set up off Haley. Keep it up Parks supervisor – parks for active recreation for the taxpaying public at large. Next keep working on the heavy “event” use at the Mission Rose Garden park – large set ups of tents, chairs and tables talking over not only much of the space, but the serene views across the rose garden to the Mission backdrop. Thanks for at least putting up signs discouraging picnicing between the rose beds which blocked all public traffic. Amplified and alcohol need to be next.

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