News


Governor orders mandatory water cutback

State water board directed to implement mandatory 25% reduction statewide

Gov. Jerry Brown announced Wednesday an executive order for mandatory statewide water use reductions, the first-ever order in California's history, according to the governor's office.

With a record-low snowpack amid the state's drought, Brown directed the State Water Resources Control Board to implement mandatory 25% reductions in water usage by California cities and towns through February 2016.

The Pleasanton City Council instituted a mandatory 25% water restriction last May, but in late-January the council suspended the billing penalty component of the emergency drought mandate for a period of 90 days -- to allow time to consider the condition of the reservoir levels and snowpack in the State Water Project.

"It's important for our water users to understand that emergency drought measures could go back into effect prior to April if we don't have enough measurable rain and snow by then," Daniel Smith, Operation Services Director and Pleasanton's water czar, said at the January council meeting.

Pleasanton's water billing penalty implemented last May was based on a mandatory 25% reduction in water use over what those same customers used in the same billing period in 2013.

Brown's executive order Wednesday also calls on the water board to direct local water agencies to adjust their rate structures to implement conservation pricing.

School campuses, golf courses, cemeteries and other large landscapes are required to make significant cuts in water use, and will create a statewide initiative partnering with local agencies to replace lawns with drought-tolerant landscapes, according to the governor's office.

In addition, a rebate program will be set up to provide incentives for the replacement of inefficient household devices.

The governor announced the water use reductions Wednesday morning at a manual snowpack survey conducted 90 miles east of Sacramento.

According to the California Department of Water Resources, electronic reading have shown the Sierra Nevada's snowpack's water content is lower than any year on record -- just 8% of the historical average as of late March.

"Today we are standing on dry grass where there should be five feet of snow. This historic drought demands unprecedented action," Brown said in a statement.

"Therefore, I'm issuing an executive order mandating substantial water reductions across our state. As Californians, we must pull together and save water in every way possible," the governor said.

Editor's note: Information from the Bay City News Service was used in this report.

Comments

5 people like this
Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 1, 2015 at 8:04 pm

Pleasanton should abide by the rukes of the state and not impose their own rules. Could be a discrimination lawsuit and a big one.


What about the delta smelt issue and water for big agriculture? We going to take a stand? How about those wineries? Growing grapes take a lot of water. How about new home or apartment development? Done? How about all of the swimming pools around town. Shouldn't the high schools drain their and share the aquatic center? Let's see some leadership city council.


28 people like this
Posted by Ridge runner
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Apr 2, 2015 at 8:52 am

Residential and municipal water usage is only 7% of the statewide consumption, so imposing this mandatory restriction has no impact other than hassling and oppressing homeowners. The state should have been investing in resource management (e.g. building more dams and canals, covering canals, and implement recycled water systems for outdoor irrigation) rather than useless projects such as Brown's "train to nowhere" and other Sacramento fat.


28 people like this
Posted by CJ
a resident of Gatewood
on Apr 2, 2015 at 10:20 am

How about this idiot governor take the high speed rail money and put it into desalination plants!!


7 people like this
Posted by Ellen
a resident of Birdland
on Apr 2, 2015 at 10:21 am

I, for one, am happy to see this mandate. It is a good start to what should be an ongoing effort for everyone and every organization to do all they can to conserve this precious resource. It seems like many people still aren't taking this situation seriously.

Unfortunately it takes laws sometimes to force people to do what we should all be doing nothing anyway. For me it serves as a reminder to step up my household's water usage.


18 people like this
Posted by FrequentWalkerMiles
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2015 at 10:29 am

Are there plans to slow down the state mandated high density housing complexes g then?


2 people like this
Posted by Registered Joe
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2015 at 11:03 am

Check out this water use graphic form the NY Times:

Web Link


19 people like this
Posted by Longtimer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2015 at 11:46 am

So, do I need to move. As a Pleasanton senior, living alone, I dutifully cut all I could cut in 2014, to meet the 25% Pleasanton cut. So now CA says I have to cut 25% below that?? Cannot be done. Living alone consumes about the same for basics as a couple. I have already cut showers to a couple per week, and 2 'tiny' loads of wash/week, zero dishwasher, rinse & reuse a plate or bowl. Last year I immediately covered all with bark and rocks...everybody should use bark to retain moisture! When prematurely dead leaves starting blowing around last Summer, I bought a blower for my patio.
I have already cut all my usages. It is unrealistic to ask me for 25% more..I'm already under 1 unit per month! are you ??? Have basics for survival been determined. Because I was too obedient and cut back too much last year for Pleasanton, CA should allow me to use my 2013 comps. There are a few others in the state who have already done the 25& cut.


31 people like this
Posted by Jen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2015 at 12:05 pm

At what point is the drought considered serious enough to suspend all new home/condo/apartment building in Pleasanton?


11 people like this
Posted by HW
a resident of Birdland
on Apr 2, 2015 at 12:39 pm

HW is a registered user.

Longtimer--No, you don't have to move. The governor's executive order specifically states the 25% reduction is based on 2013 usage. See the entire order here: Web Link

Pleasanton is already using the 25% mandatory reduction level. This new order mandates the rest of California to do so as well.


12 people like this
Posted by parched
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2015 at 1:38 pm

Brown gave his sermon on the mount yesterday and there was no mention of planning for new reservoirs, reducing the influx of illegals and other water consumers and cutting off all new water hookups in the state. These steps would require some conscious planning, where Brown not beholden to development interests. He's more interested in his train to nowhere...imagine the water delivery infrastructure that could be built using the billions for the train to the southern desert.


6 people like this
Posted by Longtimer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2015 at 2:46 pm

Thank you, thank you, HW. I do wonder however, how many others have reduced to less than 1 unit per month? ? Haven't heard any others. I do my part.


7 people like this
Posted by I use 1 unit per month
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 2, 2015 at 2:55 pm

My usage is so low that the water department came to my house to make sure the meter was working. Yet I watch the city over water the park where the Friday concerts are held. That lawn stayed green, with runoff on the south sidewalks, for all of last year. When I complained I was told that the city had exceeded their 25% cutback so they were increasing water use to "ONLY" reduce by 25%. Idiots. Lead by example you morons. If you exceeded the 25% minimum that was a good thing, you did not need to pour drinking water on your parks and golf courses just to stay at the 25% reduction.


7 people like this
Posted by Longtimer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2015 at 2:58 pm

I will vote for desalination for more water, and new, modern nuclear plants for abundant 24/7 power for the century. We keep irresponsibly breeding and importing more than we, churches, taxpayers, or nature, can provide for. Time for 'responsible' practices and behavior from everyone....


3 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 2, 2015 at 3:29 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

The Quest For Water:

People have been desalinating water for centuries. One of the first mentions was by Aristotle, who wrote of sea water distillation in 320 BC. Different technologies were used during the ages:

Rome's Pliny the elder described distillation with condensation on fleece in 70 AD, Greece's Alexander of Aphrodisias described seawater distillation with condensation on sponges 130 years later, French explorer Jean De Lery reported the successful distillation of seawater during a voyage to Brazil in 1565, and James Cook desalinated seawater during his circumnavigation of the world.

Desalination by the numbers:

The total number of desalination plants worldwide (as of 2013) 17,000.

The global capacity of commissioned desalination plants worldwide (as of 2013) is over 60 million cubic meters per day.

The number of countries where desalination is practiced is 150.

The number of people around the world who rely on desalinated water for some or all of their daily needs is over 300 million.

Population of United States and its territories is 232 million.

Population of China is 1.4 billion people.


8 people like this
Posted by Drenched runner
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Apr 3, 2015 at 9:16 am

I too have gone down to less than one unit a month. How? Instead of taking a shower every morning I go running in Pleasanton Sports Park where the sprinklers are flooding the concrete sidewalks and come back exercised and showered head to toes. Seriously though... everyone loves soft green grass - but do we need acres of it? Wouldn't cutting down irrigation by 50% still leave us at least a few green fields to enjoy? How about leaving 20 - 30 ft on the side of all sidewalks with no irrigation to avoid the waste on the concrete? Probably just a drop in the bucket, but a symbolic one!


3 people like this
Posted by RESPONSE TO LONGTIMER
a resident of Del Prado
on Apr 3, 2015 at 10:02 am

LONGTIMER - Agree with you - however I have some good news. I called the Pleasanton Water Conservation Hotline and they said they are going to do the 25% on 2013 usage NOT 2014. I had the same concern - how was I going to cut more that I did last year. You can call and they will tell you how much your usage was in 2013.

Hope this helps!


7 people like this
Posted by Michael L.
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Apr 3, 2015 at 10:30 am

It would be nice if our water managers and the governor would do something to provide more water to us. There is a lot of water that is being wasted. Efforts should include capturing rain water, recycling used water, reducing evaporation from reservoirs, and building new reservoirs. I'm not in favor of desalinization as it very expensive and there are better options. Instead our government does nothing for decades and then they impose restriction and fines. The water tables have been sinking for decades due to excessive agricultural use. We are on the path to running out of water unless something is done to increase the available supply. It's time for some leadership.


12 people like this
Posted by Patricia
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 3, 2015 at 2:37 pm

Impressed at those able to get down to one unit! We're a household of four adults, and the best I was able to do was get down to 7, and that was pretty low! But we did manage to cut our use down by 40 to 75 percent from 2013 to 2014, so I was pretty concerned about finding more ways to cut. One thing, though? Can we knock off the water-shaming? I let my front flowers die last summer, so this spring I bought some drought tolerant plants to replace them. Yes, I used the hose -- with an auto-shut off -- to water them in. First time I've turned the thing on in ages. So the lady in the SUV who drove past and shouted from her window, "Way to waste water!" was not only extremely rude, she was also yelling at someone who has really been working at saving water. Kinda ruined my day. So c'mon, people . . . don't assume the worst, and be nice out there!


3 people like this
Posted by Chanan
a resident of Del Prado
on Apr 3, 2015 at 2:43 pm

During our last family trip to Israel we were fortunate to have been given a tour of Sorek, the largest water Desalianization plant in the world

Web Link

and immediately were perplexed as to why this technology was not being utilized in the. United States and especially California? While I was initially a proponent of Gov. Browns High Speed Rail project but there is no way in good conscience that I nor anybody in this state should accept a single dime being spent on this when we are in such dire straits for what is truly our most value able natural resource.


2 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 3, 2015 at 3:38 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Good job Patricia.

Keep up the hard work, it is because of your effort and the other folks like you, we will get through this drought.

Ignore that know nothing in the SUV.



Like this comment
Posted by Desalination facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 3, 2015 at 7:21 pm

Chanan,

The below link will show you that desalination technology is being used in California. It's not being used more because it is expensive (see 2.3). To see where it is being used in the U.S. and California, go to 4.24.

Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by Kyrridwen
a resident of Birdland
on Apr 4, 2015 at 9:55 am

There is a brand new pool under construction in Birdland on our street. How does the city justify issuing permits for something like this during a drought? It's not a "necessary" thing, and a huge waste of water.


2 people like this
Posted by Knowledge is Power
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Apr 5, 2015 at 11:31 am

Drenched runner,
I agree with you and was curious about the same thing, and then I learned... When the Pleasanton Sports Park was designed and originally built in the late 1980s it did not have a sidewalk that circled its perimeter as it does today. For this reason the irrigation line for the sprinklers was designed and buried in a way to efficiently cover an area that is entirely grass and not sidewalk. This means on one end, with such a large landscape it would be an expensive budget draining endeavor to gut and reroute miles of irrigation line to keep several miles of sidewalks water free and on the other end I know that the park is currently in the process of hooking up the to reclaimed water so I am assuming the parks budget is just focused on that. So, I recommend you find other ways to conserve water other than taking shower jogs in the park after they go to reclaimed water... yuck.


Like this comment
Posted by Pleasantonian
a resident of Mission Park
on Apr 6, 2015 at 8:54 am

Pleasantonian is a registered user.

Michael Austin, not to be picky but the population of the US is over 318.9 million, not 232 million as you stated.


Like this comment
Posted by George
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Apr 6, 2015 at 9:20 am

Hi Patricia

I applaud your idea of removing flowers from your front yard and replacing them with drought tolerant plants. It would not be necessary to water those plants with a hose if you put a plastic dishpan in your kitchen sink and captured the water that would otherwise go down the drain. With that captured water I am able to water all my potted patio plants. Shower water and washing machine water is also captured for flushing toilets,etc.
this evening the weather report tells us to expect rain. In addition to putting large water collection containers at the base of our downspouts we are also going to take our car out of the garage, let the rain wet it down in the driveway, soap it up and let the rain rinse it off. Extreme drought calls for creative ways to conserve water........


Like this comment
Posted by Beth
a resident of Happy Valley
on Apr 6, 2015 at 9:22 am

Thank you to those who have cut their water usage!! I too have cut my water use. I am only showering 3 days per week.

Was saddened to see a home on Sycamore replacing a nice looking lawn with new sod over the weekend. Can only hope this was some kind on grass that needs less water.


2 people like this
Posted by Ellen
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 6, 2015 at 11:06 am

Can someone please tell the owner of the green grass parking lot on Pleasanton Avenue to quit watering his parking lot. It's a damn parking lot. let it go brown get rid of it and make it a dirt lot. He was out there the other morning with all sprinklers going full blast. the grounds keep has selective hearing being I made a comment asking if he knew we were in a drought. He ignored me.


2 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Stoneridge
on Apr 6, 2015 at 11:08 am

Non-agricultural use of water in California is 12% of the total. Even if we reduce our use by 50%, this would reduce water usage by about 5.5%.

Almonds require 1 gallon of water per individual almond to bring them to market. Do we still need to grow almonds if it wastes that much water? I'm sure there are other examples in agriculture as well. Considering it uses 88% of our water, we need to concentrate water reduction efforts on agricultural rather than cutting out showers and flushing less often to save 5.5%.


Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Stoneridge
on Apr 6, 2015 at 12:54 pm

Since we're now collecting shower water to flush our toilets, perhaps it would be instructive to know where the bulk of our water is actually going. Did you know that each head of broccoli requires 5.4 gallons of water?

Here's more: Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by Michael L.
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Apr 6, 2015 at 8:15 pm

Not only do almonds use a huge amount of water, a large percentage of almonds are exported. They are a cash crop grown by corporate farms. 10% of California's water goes to almond farming alone. It's quite silly for people to be cutting back on showers when they will save less water in a year than one almond tree uses.

And let's stop the silliness of promoting desalinization. Billions of gallons of water that we already have are wasted by not building more reservoirs, by not capturing rain water, by not reclaiming water and by flushing water into the ocean. Why should we pay billions of dollars to get water out of the sea when we are flushing billions of gallons into the sea?

We have had about 5 years of increasingly worsening drought. It's time for some leadership before the water runs out.


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

Couples: Engaged on Valentine’s Day! Topics to Discuss
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 2,417 views

Great rankings for Pleasanton high schools
By pleasantonweekly.com | 7 comments | 564 views

Livermore veteran, 96, has reason to be proud
By Jeb Bing | 1 comment | 234 views