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Prepping for the playa
by Andrea Tyrell
Aug 17, 2013 | 4074 views | 1 1 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by Andrea Tyrell — The Fresca Waterhouse, co-owned by Angelica Saldivar (pictured here) and her husband, has become a popular spot for Burning Man goers.
Tribune photo by Andrea Tyrell — The Fresca Waterhouse, co-owned by Angelica Saldivar (pictured here) and her husband, has become a popular spot for Burning Man goers.
Sunscreen? Check. Camera? Check? Water … If you're one of the estimated 6,000 people going to Burning Man later this summer, you know that water is a necessity. Burning Man organizers suggest bringing a gallon of drinking water for every day you're out on the playa, more if you want to bathe. For those Burners traveling a far distance who aren't carrying water, Fresca Waterhouse is the place they stop at. Recommended on the Burning Man (BM) website as the store to get water, Fresca Waterhouse has been a staple not only to the playa community but also to the Sparks community.

Owners Angelica Saldivar and her husband, Hugo Figueroa originally owned a successful water store in Los Angeles, where they first learned about selling water and its treatment. In 2003, the couple moved to Sparks. A year later, they opened Fresca Waterhouse.

" In LA, there is a water store on every corner," sad Saldivar. "When we moved here, we saw no water stores around but a great need for them."

Fresca Waterstore offers water at 40 cents a gallon and a variety of water bottles, from selling five gallon bottles with decorative crocks seen in office break rooms, to renting 55 gallon drums of water perfect for the playa. The 24 hour taps outside allow customers fill their bottles any time of day.

The water is purified in-house with a machine Saldivar and Figueroa built.

"This machine is my pride and joy," beamed Saldivar.

The machine takes tap water from the outside and filters the water through three different filters using reverse osmosis, removing chlorine, dirt, lead and other impurities. As the water moves through the spigot to your water bottle, a UV light sanitizes the water, killing the remaining bacteria, making the water as fresh and clean as it can be.

"We strive to have less than 1 part per million in our water, making our water really clean. In regular drinking water, the Environmental Protection Agency allows up to 10 parts per million," said Saldivar.

After searching Sparks for an ideal location, Saldivar and Figueroa picked the area for the high latino concentration.

"I know so many people in Sparks. There are a lot of people who come in to refill every week," said Saldivar. "I've seen kids grown up. One woman started filling up her bottles when she was pregnant. Her son's four now and they still come in to fill up every week."

"I love Sparks. It's so different compared to LA. It's different change of pace, a slower way of life and the people are so nice," said Figueroa.

Burning Man marks Fresca's peak season, with business growing after the BM coordinators endorsed the water store on their website.

"During Burning Man, the machines are always running, all 900 gallons you see stored will be gone by the end of the week. We'll just keep purifying more," said Saldivar.

"The Burning Man crowd is the best," Saldivar continues. "I've met people from all over the world who come here. We see so many art cars rolling in and other random things, like school busses."

For the Burning Man community, Fresca Waterhouse is considered a godsend.

"We're one of the last water stores in the area," said Figueroa. "We will be here as long as the community wants us. We're a family business. We plan on keeping the business in our family and we like seeing families come in."

For more information about Fresca Waterhouse, visit Fresca Waterhouse is located at 1196 N. Rock Blvd.

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August 21, 2013
It's 60,000, not 6,000!
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