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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Drought challenges Pleasanton officials

Uploaded: Jun 24, 2014

The Pleasanton City Council and city operations director Daniel Smith have made their share of headlines as they establish policies to battle the drought that is affecting their residents as well as people in Livermore, Dublin and the Dougherty Valley area of San Ramon.
All three are under orders from the Zone 7 water agency to reduce usage 25 percent. Zone 7's challenge is simple and most challenging. In a normal year, 80 percent of the water provided comes through the Delta and is delivered by the State Water Project pumps near Tracy to the South Bay Aqueduct that conveys it into the valley and then south to Fremont and the South Bay. This year, there is no water available until September when a 5 percent allocation is scheduled to be delivered.
That means Zone 7 is relying on ground water. For all the water managers, the immense challenge is there is no telling what next year will bring in terms of rainfall and snowfall. 2013 was a record dry year and 2014 has been little better with a tiny snowpack in the Sierra Nevada.
The retailers have taken a variety of approaches with the Pleasanton council deciding to maintain rates for people who achieved the 25 percent reduction instead of raising rates across the board. With the program starting May 1, many people have yet to see their bimonthly bills and have flooded the water department with more than 3,000 calls. If residents fail to reach their reduction goal, then stiff penalties kick in.
Smith wrote in an email that the city's goal is to achieve the reductions without fining any resident.
He also pointed out that the city is leading the way—tearing out lawn around city offices and replacing it with native plants that are much more drought-resistant. Similar projects have been completed at the Amador Theater, fire station three and several medians. In the two months from March 13 to May 13, the city reduced water usage by 70 percent. In the current period, irrigation water used in the parks is down 36 percent.
One of the challenges that has become an opportunity is the city's reluctance to utilize recycled water. It is using recycled water at Val Vista Park, which is next to the DSRSD water treatment plant. It also is trucking recycled water to south Pleasanton to irrigate the Callippe Preserve Golf Course.
The big opportunity that should take place next year is utilizing the existing dual piping in Hacienda Business Park so it can be irrigated with recycled water. Smith indicated that the environmental review is underway and design work should start in July.
An even better target is the Ken Mercer Sports Park which uses potable water to irrigate almost 100 acres of turf. Moving to recycled water there will allow the city crews to irrigate as they want to maintain excellent conditions without regard to drought.
One of the interesting balancing acts is the mineral content of the recycled water. For example, coastal redwoods that are planted in many areas of town have low tolerances to salt.

Comments

Posted by already conserve, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jun 25, 2014 at 4:27 pm

"If residents fail to reach their reduction goal, then stiff penalties kick in." Wrong!

The city has no intention of fining or penalizing anyone -- they just went out and spent $200,000 to have some PR firm try to beg and plead with the abusers to conserve water. The city thinks that they need to get out the message about the need to conserve. Well how about this -- penalize the abusers just like you said you were going to do! You do not need to pay $200,000 to get out the message. One round of penalties and those abusers will get the message for sure.

This city can find more ways to throw away money than any organization other than the military. A $7,000 hammer pales in comparison to a $200,000 plea to save water.

This waste of $200,000 should come directly out of the pay of the city manager since he thought it was such a great idea.


Posted by CalGirl, a resident of Highland Oaks,
on Jun 26, 2014 at 11:11 am

The city has now opened a program for residents to get recycled water - up to 300 gallons daily at no charge. We took an orientation class and received our labels for our containers and we can get the water from 3-7 PM Monday through Friday and 8-12 on Saturday.


Posted by Daveg, a resident of Birdland,
on Jun 26, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Daveg is a registered user.

CalGirl, can you give me some details on your handling and transporting of the water? Also, perhaps I'm not looking on the correct city links, but where do you get information to take the orientation class? Regarding the transporting, do you use 55 gallon barrels, or something bigger, how do you load, unload, etc.? Thanks for your help.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jun 30, 2014 at 6:42 pm

I don't think that anybody needs 300 gallons of water to take a shower?

Web Link


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jun 30, 2014 at 6:50 pm

plus I think that the conservation group that provides this suggestion with a photo is right on re: a unique way to collect rainwater...

Web Link

i hope davep finds it useful...good luck!


Posted by Renee Olsen, a resident of Dublin,
on Jul 2, 2014 at 2:23 pm

Daveg, the information you are looking for is on the Dublin San Ramon Services District website. DSRSD operates the water recycling plant and is making recycled water available to Pleasanton residents in addition to its own water customers in Dublin and San Ramon.

Go to www.dsrsd.com/drought and download the Residential Recycled Water Use Agreement. Bring your completed agreement to the fill station. The attendant will provide required training in using recycled water on your landscaping. Your containers should have tight-fitting lids and be a manageable size for your back and your vehicle (water is heavy).

Currently the fill station is open 3-7 pm Monday through Friday and 8 am -noon on Thursdays and Saturdays. It will be closed on Friday July 4 for the holiday, but will reopen at 8 AM on Saturday July 5. It's a good idea to check the DSRSD website before you come, in case hours are expanded.

Renee Olsen, Community Affairs Specialist
Dublin San Ramon Services District


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