The Pleasanton City Council will be asked tonight to reinstate monetary penalties for businesses and residents whose use of water exceeds the mandated 25% reduction based on comparable water bills in 2013.
The penalties were dropped for 90 days last January as water department managers awaited possible rainfall during the winter months, which didn't happen.
"With the return of hot weather, it is recommended that the excess use penalties be reinstated effective May 15," said Daniel Smith, director of operations Services states in his report to be presented to the council tonight.
The 25% mandated cut in water use means:
Cutting back on lawn sprinkling to 12 minutes a week and never in daytime.
No car washing in driveways; use commercial car washes only that recycle their water.
No topping off swimming pools unless they have covers, and no new pools or refills be allowed in Pleasanton during the water crisis.
To encourage residents and businesses to conserve, Dublin and Livermore have raised rates across the board. Pleasanton's rules keep rates the same, but add penalties if 25% reductions aren't made based on comparisons with consumption in the same water billing period in 2013.
These can be steep. Customers who fail to meet the 25% mandatory cutback will be charged an additional $4 per unit of water used above that amount and fined $50. For a second offense, the extra unit charge goes to $8 with a $100 penalty; a third time will cost $12 a unit and a $250 penalty; a fourth violation will raise the unit cost to $12 with a $500 penalty.
Smith said waivers will be issued for those water users who long ago cut back and whose bills prove it. Also exempted will be families that have added newborns or older relatives in their households since a year ago. It's the big users Smith and his department are going after. Getting those customers to comply with the 25% cut will go a long way toward solving Pleasanton's water shortage, Smith said.
Smith's report on drought conditions and his recommendation for reinstating water use penalties are part of a packed agenda facing the council at tonight's meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. in the Pleasanton Civic Center, 200 Old Bernal Ave.