Pleasanton Weekly

News - January 24, 2014

Zone 7 to discuss drought at special board meeting

State of emergency may affect Pleasanton water allocation

by Dolores Fox Ciardelli

At two upcoming meetings, Zone 7 water agency will discuss the drought situation in California and plans to address shortages.

The first is a Zone 7 special board meeting to be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Zone 7 boardroom, 100 North Canyons Parkway, Livermore. This discussion will focus on current conditions and the strategy for approaching a worst-case scenario if water imports are severely limited.

The second meeting is a public workshop on the California Water Action Plan, beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Dublin City Council chamber. California Secretary of Natural Resources John Laird will speak about the state's Water Action Plan and short-term planning to address water-related issues on a statewide basis.

Now that Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a drought state of emergency, it is becoming increasingly likely that water to Pleasanton and the Tri-Valley will be severely limited this year, according to Zone 7, which serves Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin and the Dougherty Valley portion of San Ramon.

The record-breaking dry weather is continuing in the Bay Area and in the Sierra, leading officials in the California Department of Water Resources to consider impacts on state water project contractors.

Zone 7 started the year with a 5% allocation, only the second time in the history of the State Water Project it has been so low.

"More than 80% of the water used in the Livermore-Amador Valley is conveyed through the Delta and then imported via the State Water Project to the Valley to be added to underground storage in the local groundwater basin or to be treated by Zone 7 for immediate delivery," according to Zone 7. "Without this water, current residents, businesses and agricultural customers would suffer severe water shortages."

Zone 7's infrastructure allows it to bank water underground during wet years, which is augmented by imported water that goes through Zone 7's water treatment facilities. However, this is the third dry year and supplies are getting low. The Department of Water Resources is projecting that imports will be limited so the facilities may not have enough water to meet all demands.

Therefore, in keeping with Brown's proclamation, Zone 7 is asking residents to conserve water, with a target of at least 20% savings.

Alameda County was among 27 counties listed this week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as "natural disaster areas" in the state due to drought; this makes farmers eligible for low-interest federal loans.

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