Pleasanton cuts water conservation requirements to 10%

Eases 25% rule as conservation efforts succeed, recycled water comes online

Pleasanton's water conservation target has been reduced to 10% based on 2013 billings in response to newly adopted statewide water conservation standards.

For more than a year, the city has imposed a 25% cutback for residents and businesses with penalties imposed for those failing to meet those requirements.

Mandatory conservation measures remain in effect to prevent water waste, though there will be no

drought surcharge assessed for the time being.

Kathleen Yurchak, Pleasanton's director of Operations and Water Utilities, said the city retains the authority to impose with advance notice these assessments at any time should the need arise.

The City Council agreed Tuesday to modify the local drought requirements in response to Pleasanton's successful conservation efforts, as well as the state's statewide water conservation changes.

"We're pleased to announce that while the mandatory drought restrictions have been relaxed, they are not entirely gone," Yurchak said. "While this year's rain and snow certainly helped the situation, water conservation will remain the new California norm for the time being."

In addition to the wet winter, other factors also contributed to the city's decision to alleviate drought restrictions, including the community's exceptional conservation efforts and the ongoing work by the city to install purple (recycling water) pipes throughout Pleasanton.

As recycled water distribution pipes are extended, the program will eventually reduce the city's reliance on potable supplies by 10%, Yurchak said.

"This was a team effort by mother nature, our residents, businesses and the ongoing work of city staff to construct and deploy the purple pipes project," she added.

The council voted unanimously to adopt a Stage 1 Water Shortage policy, the guideline which differs

from the previous Stage 3 drought condition rule which has been in place. Under Stage 1, conservation targets are set at 10% water savings, as compared to 2013 usage.

Mandatory conservation measures remain in effect, including limiting landscape irrigation to the hours of 6 p.m. to 9 a.m. and no more than three nonconsecutive days per week through September.

Also watering needs to be confined to lawns or landscape and not allowed to run off onto driveways and sidewalks.

While water may be used for washing cars from a hose with a shut-off nozzle,the water should not run off into the street storm drain system.

Using drinking water to wash down driveways and sidewalks continues to be prohibited under the city's Stage 1 water conservation policy.

For a full list of restricted water uses, sign on to the city's Water Conservation website at

While the short-term conservation requirements have eased, Yurchak said, the declared drought emergency for the state has not been lifted. Pleasanton remains committed to meeting the mandatory conservation goals of reducing potable

water consumption by 20% by 2020, as enacted through the Water Conservation Act of 2009.

"We have done an excellent job of conserving water when it was needed most, and our efforts paid off," Yurchak said.

"That said," she added, "nearly 60% of California remains in a severe drought. While this is down from over 90% last year, it's important to recognize and pay attention to the long game and not ease up completely not knowing what we will be faced with next year."

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4 people like this
Posted by Patriot
a resident of Birdland
on Jun 9, 2016 at 10:41 am

Such a poor decision! We need conservation and not a let up on restrictions. This just brings smiles to developers and growth at any cost council. This enjoy now suffer later is so shortsighted. Fill your pool now. Water those lawns. Who needs to plan for the future...

12 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jun 9, 2016 at 11:17 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Nothing says people can't continue to cut by 25%. We took out all our lawn and moved to a drip system long before the limitations. With many reservoirs at capacity, isn't the real need for more reservoirs? So we save water, where will the water be kept?

8 people like this
Posted by reservoirs
a resident of another community
on Jun 9, 2016 at 1:22 pm

need of the hour are reservoirs. When was the last one built? While conserving water and not wasting the precious resource is good, that does not mean completely lowering standard of living and quality of life.
We all need some green and colors around our houses to make the city and community look good.
Surcharge and penalties are not a solution ... reservoirs are.

7 people like this
Posted by PTown Born
a resident of Danbury Park
on Jun 10, 2016 at 7:00 am

As long as the city leaders continue to approve more housing we will have higher water rates and mandatory usage cuts. They will need to raise rates to provide additional revenue for the Water Dept plus pay for more reservoirs. Why don't they halt additional developments until they can provide enough water for those of us who already live here?

6 people like this
Posted by Voter
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jun 10, 2016 at 7:26 am

PTown is right. The city's unrestricted growth policy has run us out of water. Now they want us to pay for very expensive construction to increase reservoirs to cover their poor judgement. Reservoirs are now required, but the cost and the damage to the natural environment is something we will have to suffer. We need civic leaders with better judgement. The builders of the developments at Stanley and Bernal, across from East Pleasanton BART, Old Vineyard, Township Square and Stoneridge and Foothill and the thousands who will live there should be paying for the increase. Now watch the city go after Happy Valley and the South hills.

I'm tired of council persons who are rubber stamps for developers.

Like this comment
Posted by No Landscaping @New Developments
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 10, 2016 at 11:17 am

Since Pleasanton government intends to continue building more houses (plus mandates from the State and County governments), why not make it mandatory that all new houses must come with installed artificial turf and artificial/real plants that use zero water?

They should also require a special set-aside from the developer to maintain this artificial landscape for at least 30 years.

The only exception should be for un-subdivided lots of record before the "drought crisis", which would retain their right to landscape as they choose.

1 person likes this
Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 10, 2016 at 11:40 am

Here are some facts to consider. We have 10 large reservoirs in this state. The last one built was New Melones in 1979 when the states population was about 23,000,000 or so. Because of our lack of capacity about half of our water goes back into the ocean and lost. Even though our stated population is over 40,000,000 (more than Canada) most of our water is consumed by agriculture so even though it's convenient to blame population and lawns that not our issue. We should be building more capacity. Would be great for states dropping economy as well.

2 people like this
Posted by member
a resident of another community
on Jun 10, 2016 at 8:32 pm

Yeah well ,for anyone whose seen New Melones in the past year, six months ago, you could walk across it LITERALLY! If that's not scarey, nothing is. It's up a little, but no where near what it should be. The money people around town NEVER let their lawns, yards go,while others collect shower water to water theirs. Now that it's rained a little, we can't build enough homes. Have you looked around town lately? Been into Dublin or Livermore lately? You keep cutting the pie, the pieces get smaller.It's not rocket science, it's THE AMERICAN WAY. It's what we do best. Give an inch, take a mile! Where do you think these people who set up at the Farmers Market every Saturday are coming from? The HOT valley, that is starving for water. There's NEVER ANY EXTRA either. We are not promised any more rain anywhere,ever. So,If you don't think continuing to conserve water should be an issue, shame on you. We treat this planet as if we had another one to go to already. Do YOU turn the water off when you brush your teeth?!

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