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Some Peninsula residents ordered to cut water use by 30%

Pleasanton, other nearby cities holding at 25% for now

Businesses and residents in Los Gatos, Saratoga, Campbell and other parts of the south Peninsula, including portions of San Jose, and have been ordered to cut water consumption by 30% or face severe penalties. The reduction could be among the highest, if not the highest water conservation mandate in the state.

Pleasanton is mandating a 25% cutback based on water billings for the same period in 2013.

San Jose Water Company spokesman John Tang said 2013 water consumption levels will also be the base for determining conservation for Peninsula customers it serves.

Most of the rules focus on outdoor water use, which water company

officials said accounts for half of a household's total water usage, Tang said.

A drought surcharge will be applied for residential customers and

those with dedicated landscape accounts, such as large business parks that have their own outdoor watering meter separate from their indoor water use meter.

If a customer is found overusing water, they will be charged $3.56

per excessive unit of water used up to their 2013 levels. Those who use more than their 2013 levels will be charged $7.13 for each unit above that level.

"It can cost up to $10 a unit for a drought surcharge depending on

how much you go over," Tang said.

Multi-family dwellings would be exempt from the drought surcharges, but are still expected to reduce their water usage by 30%.

"Multi-family units are fairly efficient already and don't have a

lot of outdoor needs," Tang said.

Some of new rules include repairing leaks within 72 hours of being

notified by the company and not watering within a 48-hour period after at least a quarter-inch of rain.

Watering outdoors is limited to two days a week and is only

allowed between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Even-numbered addresses can only water on Tuesdays and Fridays while odd-numbered addresses and places without an address can irrigate on Mondays and Thursdays, according to utility officials.

Watering cannot last for more than 15 minutes a day, unless a

property uses drip irrigation, low precipitation sprinkler heads, a hose with a positive shut-off device or a handheld bucket or similar container.

The rules and fines are part of the company's Water Shortage

Contingency Plan approved by the California Public Utilities Commission.

The plan came after Gov. Jerry Brown's April announcement of a

statewide mandatory reduction of water usage by 25% from users' 2013 rate that would be implemented through the State Water Resources Control Board.

The company is aligning its rules with the Santa Clara Valley

Water District after its board of directors called for customers to reduce their water usage by 30% in comparison to their 2013 rate.

The water company serves customers in Los Gatos, Saratoga, Monte

Sereno, Campbell and portions of San Jose.

More information on the new rules and drought surcharges can be

found online at https://www.sjwater.com/

Bay City News contributed to this report.

Jeb Bing

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