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Pleasanton Council could require 25% cut in water usage tonight

Voluntary reduction of 20% a failure as consumption actually increases

The Pleasanton City Council is expected to require residents to cut their water usage by 25% over last year's consumption and possibly to impose severe cost penalties if they don't.

The action is being recommended by Daniel Smith, director of Operations Services, after a review of current water bills showed the 20% voluntary reduction he and the council urged in February has failed.

"In fact," Smith states in a report to be presented the council's meeting tonight, "water usage from this same period compared with 2013 actually shows a 9.1% increase in water usage in 2014."

Zone 7, which supplies much of the potable water Pleasanton uses, has already advised the cities it serves to expect a 25% reduction for all of 2014 compared to actual production last year.

The 25% reduction is expected to hit larger families the hardest as well as those with swimming pools that will still need to be topped off during the hot summer months to maintain adequate levels and water safety.

Zone 7's mandates, in fact, prohibit refilling swimming pools that are uncovered when not in use as well as banning the filling of new pools or draining and refilling existing ones.

In his report tonight, Smith doesn't mention swimming pools in his list of proposed restrictions, but otherwise tracks the Zone 7 mandates, including not irrigating lawns between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. or at any time when it is raining.

In declaring a Stage 3 water shortage, the council's resolution, if adopted, would also allow Smith and his department staff to inspect private properties to look for compliance to the new water reduction rules.

Although Smith's report makes no recommendations related to rate increases or the cost of penalties, if any are imposed, he does point out the there likely will be increased costs for the city to treat water because a greater percentage will be drawn from groundwater wells instead of Zone 7.

Also, since there should be a 25% reduction in water usage, that will mean less revenue for his department whose work actually will be increasing because of the need for greater enforcement measures.

The council meeting will start at 7 p.m. in the Pleasanton Civic Center, 200 Old Bernal Ave.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Susie
a resident of Country Fair
on May 6, 2014 at 7:59 am

And this is from the same city council that is approving multiple new housing units. When they are built, will we be restricted to 50% less water?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Question
a resident of Del Prado
on May 6, 2014 at 8:17 am

Could it be that Pleasanton used more water in February, 2014 than 2013 because we did not have any rain.
The rain came later.
Susie had a good point - maybe all new building should be delayed.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by diabe
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on May 6, 2014 at 8:20 am

Gee with the new multiple units being built and what you use for the public golf course, soon there will not be any water for residents...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by AL P
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 6, 2014 at 8:31 am

First of all 'Potable' water is a bit of a stretch with Zone 7....I don't know anyone who doesn't filter the bejeezus out of it before drinking.

Second, I use very little water, and hope that any surcharges for not reducing will be on a relative scale of some sort. Someone using 10 units a month v. someone using 2 units shouldn't be held to the same standard. Some of us reduce as a general rule, drought or not.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Fredrick
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 6, 2014 at 8:32 am

Most of the new apartments are asphalt, concrete and building, almost no grass or trees.

Apartment dwellers using water- absolutely. Normally their is no water meter on each unit so they can take showers all day long if they want to.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Thirsty Joe
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 6, 2014 at 8:42 am

To meet this 25% reduction, most residents will have to cut their outdoor watering by 50%. Is the City of Pleasanton going to cut their watering of golf courses, sport parks, and street landscaping by 50%? When in the hell is the City Council going to get with it and water these things with recycled sewage water?
I absolutely agree that no new construction should be permitted until this drought is over, and until the City has purchased the additional water rights needed to support those additional residents.
When is Pleasanton doing to get different water sources than the State water that was cut to zero deliveries this year?
People should show up at this meeting and bitch like hell about the lack of foresight demonstrated by the City Council on water supplies.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on May 6, 2014 at 8:43 am

Whomever uses water should and must be subject to the same restrictions. Swimming pools included, golf courses included, city parks included, unless it is recycled water.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter
a resident of another community
on May 6, 2014 at 8:43 am

While mandating a percentage reduction is the easiest way to implement a water savings plan, it is certainly not the fairest way. For example, let's say that the average per capita water use is 100 gallon a day. For a family of four, this would be 400 gallons. Last year family "A" practiced water conservation and cut their water usage to 300 gallons. Family "B", however, was not concerned and actually used 500 gallons a day. Under this new mandatory 25% reduction plan, family "A" will have to cut their usage to 225 gallons a day, while family "A" to 375 gallons. Family "A" will really have to sacrifice, while family "B" will do almost nothing just to get down to the average water usage.

The fairest way is to provide water per capita and let the residents decide how they want to use it. If they want to water their massive water-soaking lawns, let them, but they will not have any left to shower with. Those people who landscape with native plants will have plenty of water for personal use.

This plan is certainly harder to implement, but far fairer.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jaker
a resident of Birdland
on May 6, 2014 at 8:46 am

I agree with Al P. Not all users should be held to the same standard. My family and I already use as little water as we can, conserving as much as possible. I don't think it fair to view me as equal to my neighbor who waters their lawn every afternoon, rain or shine. A 25% reduction would be devastating to us, not to him.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by right
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 6, 2014 at 8:58 am

With 2 kids away at college this year, it'll be no problem cutting back 25% or more. Therein, lies the problem with these bureaucrats enforcing the lazy man's guide to a reduction in water use. Obviously, no new water hookups should be allowed and water allocations should be based on how many people live in the house full time. Of course, this would require a little effort and planning, but that would get in the way of all this hand-wringing.
This is why many people don't conserve water on a full time basis...it's times like these were you get doubly punished whee they base your usage on your already prudent use of water in the past.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by water miser
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 6, 2014 at 9:15 am

The way mandatory reductions are meted out is unfair, but it's easier to do it on a percentage basis so that's what happens. It's ALWAYS about taking the easiest way out.

We always practice conservation regardless of the amount of rain and water storage, so mandatory cutbacks really hurt. Added to that, we recently had 2 of our children move back home and the City does not honor a per/person water use schedule or have provisions for changes to the number of people in a household. All the while the water runs freely down the gutter from the City median and landscape overwatering. At least we get to look forward to higher rates when the City doesn't make as much revenue due to the cutbacks!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by city should go first
a resident of Downtown
on May 6, 2014 at 9:19 am

Until Pleasanton stops watering the golf courses and parks with drinking water they have no right to demand any reduction at all from the rest of us.

Lead by example idiots.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by lll
a resident of Birdland
on May 6, 2014 at 11:18 am

The new development should be restricted to 75% of last years usage. If those pieces of land were using 0 gallons, this year they get 0 x .75 = 0.

The city MUST reduce be at least 25% but you are right it should be more since almost all of the city water usage is outdoor usage. I think a 40% reduction for the city is fair.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on May 6, 2014 at 11:48 am

If you need to wash your car just drive down hop yard when then center divider strip has their sprinklers on, plenty of water shooting out all over the place!!! Yep, I also see the city as the biggest abuser of wasting water, let's start at the top and quit passing the buck down to the homeowners. Oh yeh get ready for higher water rates, happens every time, usage go down, profits go down, spending stays the same, rates go up.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by New landscaping
a resident of Mohr Park
on May 6, 2014 at 11:56 am

We moved into a house without rear landscaping, and we were going to landscape this year. Can we write to the water agency to point this out for an exception? Otherwise anyone who installs landscaping will be penalized.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on May 6, 2014 at 12:38 pm

I strongly recommend a rock garden.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on May 6, 2014 at 12:41 pm

Pool covers are good. Just get the cheapest and lightest bubble wrap offered on amazon. Heavy blankets don't insulate any better than thin, and are a pain to get in and out. It cut WAY down on my evaporation, and kept my pool nice and warm. Just be sure to toss a bag of shock in every week. The superheated surface water goes through free chlorine FAST.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Spudly
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on May 6, 2014 at 1:15 pm

In what little rain we had last month, I was able to turn off my sprinklers at that time. The city landscaping sprinklers were on full blast while it was raining. Good job.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bad Planning
a resident of Birdland
on May 6, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Your vote really matters. Over many decades we in Pleasanton have elected the politicians who failed to plan the necessary infrastructure (water, roads, etc.) to accommodate existing and expansionary growth--Growth that continues to this day. Based on other Bay Area communities, I see us moving to the Monterey Peninsula model where NO watering of yards is allowed. I will cut back my usage when I see the approval to build new reservoirs, deliver necessary water by rail tanker, or whatever is feasible. We all allowed this mess to come about, now we need to work to fix it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by leo
a resident of Amador Estates
on May 6, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Vote them out, Please they approved housing on east


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on May 6, 2014 at 6:16 pm

Drinkable water from human waste: Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by tim
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 7, 2014 at 8:24 am

one thing is for sure: no matter abundant rain or not, the district will demand price increases but will never cut their expenditures.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dave
a resident of Ironwood
on May 7, 2014 at 1:23 pm

Central planning doesn't work. They should raise the price of water until the usage drops to the required level. The invisible hand of the market will decide where the water will be used and where it will be reduced. Econ 101: Price goes up, demand goes down.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Liberalism is a Plaque
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 7, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Yes, we know that the market plays no favorites. Same with food, housing and you name it. If the food becomes too expensive, then some poor people can't afford to feed their kids, which is just too bad, you know? And the same with housing. It warms my heart to see the market doing its job with entire families standing on freeway exit ramps.

I never had to take beyond Econ 101, because once you know price goes up demand goes down what else is there to know?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by right
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 8, 2014 at 9:18 am

So nice to see our local leftist troll providing relevant commentary on our water control issue. Time for you to get back to the street corner with your sign proclaiming the wonders of socialism and that a fee market society will end the world as we know it. Oh, woe is us......


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Victoria
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on May 8, 2014 at 10:49 am

Last year Pleasanton Water increased our fees twice because they said we were rationing so much they couldn't make any money and they publicly posted it in the Newspaper. Now they have found another reason to increase our fees. What a Joke!! Their moto is "Screw the consumer!" . Thanks for nothing.


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