The Tri-Valley has received 5.44 inches of rainfall so far during this "water year," which includes the rainy season beginning in October 2020 (and continuing on through September 2021). Currently, only 46% of the usual rainfall has been received at this time and only 38% of rainfall in an average water year. The lowest water rainfall record in one year is 6.02 inches.
According to Zone 7 General Manager Valerie Pryor, this year "is looking to be even drier" than the last.
"We have invested in water storage programs and will look to purchase additional water supplies for calendar year 2021, but these have significant costs," Pryor said in a statement. "Continued water conservation by our community will help to reduce these costs and will also position the Tri-Valley better for calendar year 2022 should these drought conditions continue."
Water storage for Lake Del Valle was at 78% capacity with 31,000 acre-feet of a total 40,000 acre-feet of water as of Monday, according to Zone 7, which is the major potable water wholesaler for water providers in Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin and San Ramon's Dougherty Valley. The agency also oversees flood control in the Livermore and Amador valleys.
Water use has been cut over the past decade, and during the last severe drought period local customers saved over 40% in 2014. Because of these collective efforts, Zone 7 officials said they are not currently considering mandatory conservation or restrictions.
"We have seen tremendous support from our community in the past, and we know they are willing to put in the effort needed to get us through these difficult times," Board President Olivia Sanwong, of Pleasanton, said in a statement. "We are counting on Tri-Valley residents to once again increase voluntary conservation to preserve water supply and are hopeful mandatory restrictions will not be necessary to get us through these dry years."
Statewide water supply information and forecasts will be updated as drought conditions change; to help with community-wide conservation efforts, Zone 7 is conducting public outreach and sharing tips for how residents can voluntarily save water.
Simple suggestions like checking sinks for dripping faucets can save 3,000 gallons of water per year (at a rate of one drip per second), as well as signs of pooling water and rust, which indicate repairs are needed. Checking sprinkler systems for leaks, overspray or broken sprinkler heads can save up to 500 gallons of water per month.
Other suggestions to conserve water included on the checklist:
* Checking your water meter for activity when all water is off (this could indicate a leak).
* Adding food coloring to toilet tanks; color in the bowl after 10 minutes may mean a new toilet flapper is needed.
* Taking note of how long it takes the toilet to refill after flushing. Water running for more than a minute could indicate there's a leak.
* Checking walls for signs of moisture that could mean a pipe leak, such as water spots, bubbling wallpaper or bulging paint.
* Examining outside faucets or hose bibs for signs of rust, wet or muddy areas underneath that could indicate leaks that have gone unnoticed outdoors.
Residents can also reduce their outdoor water usage by replacing grass lawns with native, drought-tolerant gardens, adding mulch to gardens and around plants and trees to help them retain water better, and grouping plants into garden zones to avoid excess watering. Installing water-efficient irrigation systems can also cut back water use, and WaterSense weather-based irrigation controllers take things a step further to ensure you don't end up watering when it rains.
Watering early in the morning when it is cool will also reduce evaporation, as well as keeping pools covered when not in use.
Other actions that residents can take include: using a broom to clean driveways, sidewalks and patios instead of a hose; running dishwashers and washing machines only at full capacity; turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth; defrosting foods in the refrigerator instead of running them under water; reducing shower times, and catching warm-up water in the shower for watering plants so it doesn't get wasted.
A full list of tips, native plants and water conservation information is available at www.zone7water.com/waterwise.
This story contains 730 words.
Stories older than 90 days are available only to subscribing members. Please help sustain quality local journalism by becoming a subscribing member today.
If you are already a subscriber, please log in so you can continue to enjoy unlimited access to stories and archives. Subscriptions start at $5 per month and may be cancelled at any time.