City Council says water rates won't be changed this year

New rate structure will be reviewed with possible changes in January

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.

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Like this comment
Posted by SteveP
a resident of Parkside
on May 5, 2009 at 8:20 am

SteveP is a registered user.

That's great...those of us who have been using water wisely for some time are asked to cut back another 20% (it's 'voluntary now, but will eventually be mandatory) only to get charged more for the priviledge.

East Bay MUD water customers have laready had to live with this perversity of logic since last summer and are outraged, so now we are victims of the same shallow thinking.

When will these 'experts' ever figure out that maybe with all the building that has gone on for the past few decades that they should look to increase water supplies by building more infrastructure, storage, etc?

Like this comment
Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on May 5, 2009 at 9:27 am

I cannot for the life of me figure out what we keep electing these idiots. This is the same type of thinking which has gotten the state in a position of bankrupcy. Let's see we need to conserve water but it will impact revenues so let's increase the rate to offset our loss by conserving! Just like let's chase business out of the state by imposing the most stringent regulations in the nation and then when they leave we have no revenue so let's raise taxes on the ones who are still here. They leave and now we have no revenue so let's raise the state income tax rate and sales tax rate. Guess what they will continue to leave. Hosterman and crew need to be launched and Daniel Smith should be terminated.

Like this comment
Posted by Just like with PG&E
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 5, 2009 at 9:31 am

PG&E wants me to cut back on my gas bill in the wintertime and will reward me for doing so. But I've been keeping my heat at 58-64 degrees for years. How can I manage to cut back 20% for this incentive.

Water is the same way. There should be a formula for standard household needs based on members in household and yard size; anything over the standard is at a higher rate. We should be allowed the same per person water usage without a premium as my single neighbor next door.

I think the city of Pleasanton needs to drive around early in the morning and see where all the water is standing on the street from bad irrigation systems and mis-directed irrigation systems.

Glass houses city. Glass houses.

Like this comment
Posted by Sandy
a resident of Mohr Park
on May 5, 2009 at 9:55 am

Sandy is a registered user.

Will the city also cut back by 20 percent on watering in public parks?

The SportsPark fields seem to me to be over-watered.

Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Danbury Park
on May 5, 2009 at 9:58 am

Good point as I leave for work at 0500 and most of the time the city is watering the asphalt down Valley Avenue and many times I must use the outside lane unless I want my car washed. In addition, the sports park is usually soaking wet.

Like this comment
Posted by Lou
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on May 5, 2009 at 10:35 am

There is no doubt that the City sets a bad example. Watering on rainy days, soaking the streets instead of the plants, using gas powered mowers and blowers on "spare the air" days. They really need to re-evaluate how they fail to conform to the rules, while expecting the rest of us to comply with them.
Public workers are usually "job protected" and the thought of laying off workers to make the budget work is rarely considered. We do not need our parks mowed or watered in the rain -- and, we do not need a rate increase. Cut back the water use and the worker hours to comply with the budget.

Like this comment
Posted by Billie
a resident of Mohr Park
on May 5, 2009 at 11:21 am

This issue is on the City Council meeting TONIGHT.

While comments on this blog may allow bloggers to let off some steam, it would be more helpful to send your comments to the City Council. In the long run it probably won't do any good, but at least they'll know we're not happy about ANOTHER double rate increase like the Council approved for PGS.

Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Danbury Park
on May 5, 2009 at 11:29 am

Billie, do you have the email address to send our complaints to the City Council?

Like this comment
Posted by Billie
a resident of Mohr Park
on May 5, 2009 at 11:53 am

Here's the City website:

However, I haven't been able to access it this morning for some reason, so, here's the City Manager's e-mail for distribution of your comments to the Mayor and Council:

Nelson Fialho <>

Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Bridle Creek
on May 5, 2009 at 12:52 pm

Why don't they go after the people that are really wasting the water. You only have to drive through the neighborhoods in the daytime to see people washing their cars, driveways,even trash cans and the sidewalks outside their houses. In the summer these same people will be watering their lawns mid afternoon. Aside from wasting water they are ilegally polluting the storm drain sysytem, with their gunk. These people think it doesn't apply to them. Like others on here we have for years in our house been very careful about water and energy consumption. What are we to do?! The city needs to assign a few employees to drive around and hand out some fines, maybe that will help curb this colossal waste of all of our resources.

Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 5, 2009 at 1:06 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

The City could replace the grass on the thin medians with native plants or even gravel. Then the sprinklers won't water the streets.

What would help also is to use "purple line" recycled water for public irrigation. I don't think we have the infrastructure in Pleasanton for that yet, which should really be a crime since that idea has been around for such a long time.

Like this comment
Posted by Libertarian
a resident of Castlewood
on May 5, 2009 at 1:30 pm

A freshman economics student could calculate the price of water which would cause a 20% reduction in usage. Just raise the price. That's what market forces are for.

Americans think with their wallets. It's that simple.

Like this comment
Posted by Frank
a resident of Danbury Park
on May 5, 2009 at 1:31 pm

We don't have a water problem this is just another of "Mayor Moonbeams" miss fires. I spoke in front of the council a couple of years ago and she asked me the dumbest question and I started to laugh until I realized she was serious and then I was scared. We have the dumbest mayor in the bay area if not California.

Like this comment
Posted by NativeLover
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 5, 2009 at 1:33 pm

The city council has no clue about planting the public areas it has to maintain with low- or no-maintenance native species.


They're in cahoots with the big nurseries and landscapers in the valley to buy whatever left over high maintenance plant junk they have. In return--campaign contributions.

Like this comment
Posted by Qwerty
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 5, 2009 at 4:56 pm

It's amazing how many people set sprinklers out on their lawns only to water half the sidewalk. this is ridiculous. I am sick of all the talk about raising prices on everything except my paycheck. PSUD, then water bills, and who knows what next. Maybe we'll even get a flu tax too. taxes suck!!

Like this comment
Posted by Lorianne
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on May 6, 2009 at 10:39 am

Steve P brings up an excellent point. Could it be that building permits are granted for new housing developments without much consideration for the populace of the communities already living there?
We don’t have to look too far here in Pleasanton to see a glaring example of this poor forethought and planning. Last night the mayor and council vowed to participate in the 20% reduction (in fact they bragged about the great job they are doing already in the city parks, called it a “science” actually) by looking carefully at things that could be adjusted. Methinks they could do more.

While there were many things I didn’t like about the proposed Oak Grove development in the southeast hills, the thing that really raised my hackles was the complete disregard for Pleasanton residents with regards to water use. The council eagerly approved this housing development where a clause in the development ordinance states:

“The term of this Agreement and any subdivision map or other Project Approval or Subsequent Approval shall not include any period of time during which a development moratorium (including, but not limited to, a water or sewer moratorium or water and sewer moratorium) or the actions of other public agencies that regulate land use, development or the provision of services to the land, prevents, prohibits or delays the construction of the Project or a lawsuit involving any such development approvals or permits is pending.”

This means that no matter what the rest of Pleasanton residents are going through with a water restriction, the city CANNOT prevent the builders at Oak Grove from pulling a permit to build those large homes (est. 8,000 to 12,000 square feet).

By the mayor’s own estimation we are in the 3rd year of a drought, and could conceivably be facing a mandated rationing if it continues, and yet the city refused to enter into the appeal to see the citizen-sponsored Oak Grove referendum prevail.

Can you imagine ripping out your lawn in a few years while watching Oak Grove residents planting their own?
Apparently some in the city council are ok with that.

Like this comment
Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on May 6, 2009 at 10:55 am

Here is the real kicker. If you want to pay to have a well put in out of your own pocket ($10,000) to make yourself independent from needing water from the city or county they will not give you a permit for the well because they view it as a loss of revenue even though you are saving them water.

Like this comment
Posted by Len Fisher
a resident of Del Prado
on May 6, 2009 at 12:12 pm

When are people going to start getting that runaway immigration into the U. S. is degrading the quality of our lives, exacting horrendous financial consequences, and creating shortages of critical resources. We wouldn't have a water shortage if we didn't have so many immigrants flooding into California. The U. S. already has the third largest population in the world, and let me tell you, living conditions are really poor in #1 and #2. Think about what our water shortage would be like if Californians weren't leaving the state in droves? Unfortunately, the inflow of immigrants swamps out the outflow, so our population continues its upward spiral. If this mass influx of people doesn't stop, the current water shortage is going to be small potatoes. Look forward to drinking recycled recyced sewage water.

Like this comment
Posted by Jack Gronitz
a resident of Oak Hill
on May 6, 2009 at 12:18 pm

As your doing with less water and paying more for it you can blame the left wing judge who ordered the delta pumps shut down. Think about that when you vote for left wing kooks that appoint left wing kooks as judges.

Like this comment
Posted by Lee
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 7, 2009 at 9:13 am

We have ALREADY CUT BACK OUR WATER!! Asking us to cut another 20% will mean dead lawns and plants. Just drive around the city when they are watering medians between driving lanes. Lots of water going to the concrete instead of plants!! As for us paying more, that seems absurd on top of more for garbage.

The judge that ordered the delta pumps shut down did us humans no favors. I say people come before fish!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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