Updated: Thu, Feb 6, 2014, 7:27 am
Uploaded: Wed, Feb 5, 2014, 6:52 am
Pleasanton declares water emergency due to statewide drought
Council asks public to cut water use by 20%
The Pleasanton City Council declared Stage 1 of water shortage planning at its meeting last night in response to Governor Jerry Brown's recent State of Emergency declaration regarding California's drought conditions.
Brown directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for drought conditions. In addition, he asked all Californians voluntarily reduce their water usage by 20%.
Following the governor's request, the Zone 7 Water Agency board of directors declared a local drought emergency upon learning that State Water Project allocations may be eliminated, pending the continuation of the dry climate. In such case, water stored in the local groundwater and Lake Del Valle would be the sole sources of water to meet the needs of Pleasanton users.
Pleasanton is asking all customers to take immediate steps to reduce water usage during this emergency so that the long-term sustainability of the community's water supply can be protected by the elimination of water waste.
Pursuant to the Pleasanton's Water Shortage Contingency Plan and Urban Water Management Plan, the City Council declared Pleasanton at Stage 1 of water shortage contingency planning and called on everyone to voluntarily reduce water usage by 20%. Stage 1 of action is defined as sufficient uncertainty concerning water supplies for the year that it is prudent for water customers to conserve local water supplies.
Water customers are encouraged to review water use in and around their homes and businesses to detect and eliminate wasteful water loss, as well as implement water-efficient habits.
Daniel Smith, the city's director of Operations, said at the council meeting: "It is important to keep in mind that water-efficient habits are important every day, regardless of whether California is in a state of drought."
"Pleasanton's Climate Action Plan (February 2012) stresses the importance of water conservation in reducing the city's annual greenhouse gas emissions to help curtail climate change," he said. "Water conserving practices and eliminating water waste are lifestyle changes necessary to keep Pleasanton a thriving community."
As a result of the council's action, all Pleasanton water customers are being requested to:
o Repair all leaks in and around their home and/or business; these include leaky toilets, faucets, showers, and sprinkler hardware.
o Eliminate water runoff from pavement, such as from landscape irrigation or car washing.
o Reduce the frequency of outdoor watering to one-day-a-week or less. Regardless of limited rain, plants go dormant in the winter and require little water.
o For compatible irrigation controllers, use the "percent-adjustment" feature to reduce scheduled watering by 20%. Winter watering can go down as low as 50%.
o Water landscaping only between 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. to reduce water loss from wind and evaporation.
o Use shut-off nozzles on hoses.
o Turn off water when brushing teeth, shaving, or hand dishwashing.
o Wash only full loads of laundry and dishes.
o Install water-efficient devices, such as faucet aerators and showerheads (available for free from the city of Pleasanton.
o Take shorter showers. Reducing showering time from 10 minutes to five can save up to 12.5 gallons if using a water-efficient showerhead.
Smith said 2013 was the driest year on record for much of Northern and Central California. The limited precipitation is compounded by the fact that most state reservoir levels are well below their historical average for this time of year.
These factors, combined with the continuation of an unseasonably dry weather pattern in 2014 warrant immediate action of water-saving habits and practices by all Pleasanton water users, he added.
Posted by Jill Buck
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 5, 2014 at 9:47 am
Isn't the golf course watered with captured grey water, not potable water that we use for homes and irrigation? I think those are 2 different water sources.
In addition, this is how water conservation and climate change are connected:
One of the state's largest end uses of electricity is in the treatment, heating, and conveyance of water in California. The less water we use, the less energy we use. This is known as the energy/water nexus. Here's a link to the CA Energy Commission Web Link, and here's a link from the CA Public Utilities Commission Web Link
Californians do a great job of conserving energy compared to many other states. But when it comes to electricity, we use more than we create, so 25% of our electricity is imported from other states. A good deal of that electricity comes from power plants that emit CO2 (a heat trapping gas that stays in the atmosphere for quite some time) - even natural gas plants emit CO2, just less than a coal plant. Since the nuclear plant in San Diego is now permanently shuttered due to leaks, we have quite a bit less carbon-free energy in the state now. Here's a link to our state energy profile from teh EIA: Web Link
So, having said all that, when we use less water, we use less electricity that would be needed to move and treat that water. When we use less electricity, we emit less CO2. When we emit less CO2, we reduce the amount of heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere, which is involved in climate change.
Basically, climate change comes down to a 6th grade science lesson about the earth's carbon cycle and water cycle. When we take carbon that was stored underground for millions of years (oil, coal, natural gas), and reintroduce it to the earth's carbon cycle by burning it and releasing it into the atmosphere, we change the earth's carbon cycle. Normally the earth's vegetation, watersheds, and oceans absorb the carbon in the air, and keeps the system in balance. The difficulty now is that at the same time we've brought up all this carbon from underground, we've simultaneously deforested a lot of land, and built over watersheds, thus diminishing the earth's capacity to absorb all the new carbon released by burning fossil fuels. As a result, more of the carbon stays in the atmosphere which acts like insulation, holding in more warmth from the sun (greenhouse effect). That doesn't mean every corner of the earth will be warmer, but overall, as average global temperatures rise, the ocean will get a bit warmer, and icy places will begin to slowly melt. (This is what we're seeing in the Arctic Circle,and why you will hear about more military and shipping activity in that region - they can actually get ships through in places that used to be impassable). This melting and ocean warming creates evaporation (here's where the water cycle comes in). More evaporation leads to a drying of the soil in some places (drought), and in some places more evaporation will mean that more moisture in the air will create more snow or flooding rains, depending on the jet stream and many, many other complicated factors. This a "Reader's Digest" version of what people call climate change.
Of course, CO2 from burning coal, oil and natural gas isn't the only gas we emit that traps heat in the atmosphere. There are others, but CO2 is the one you will hear about the most.
Anyway, for what it's worth, that's how conserving water helps conserve energy which help reduce CO2 emissions which has a role in climate change. Hope this is helpful.
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