The City Council adopted a resolution last night that basically asks residents to continue their water conservation efforts by adding another 10 percent this year to the 10 percent savings they've already accomplished.
Whatever actions residents take will be strictly voluntary with Daniel Smith, the city's operations services director, promising that there would be no mandatory water rationing in 2009.
"There will also be no rate increases this year, although the council will look at a new rate structure in January," added City Manager Nelson Fialho.
The council's emphasis on encouraging water conservation followed a declaration of a water emergency by Gov. Schwarzenegger in February because of drought conditions in part of the state. He asked urban water users to immediately increase water conservation efforts to reach a goal of reducing water use by 20 percent. Water agencies, including Zone 7 and the Committee of Valley Water Retailers, adopted those guidelines a month later.
"We've already asked everyone to save 10 percent so we're asking that they add another 10 percent to their efforts," Smith said. "For now, we don't anticipate mandatory restrictions in 2009 because of available ground water that Pleasanton has if we need it."
He also told the council that residents who have been saving on water usage already won't be penalized if new rates being considered for 2010 charge more for those who don't save.
"We applaud those who save water," Smith said. "We don't want them to start using more water just so they can get credit for cutting back when penalties are imposed. We have a track record and we'll credit those who are already saving. When that time comes, we will factor in historical usage to make sure no one is penalized unfairly," he said.
Councilman Matt Sullivan said that when water rates are reviewed, some kind of tiered rate structure might be helpful.
"But for now, I don't want to raise rates in these tough economic times," Sullivan added.