"EBMUD (East Bay Municipal Utility District) mandated certain restrictions on water use last May," said Danville Assistant Town Manager Marcia Somers. "One of those restrictions was on decorative and other water features that don't use recycled water. They had to use either recycled or recirculated water and ours don't."
At its May meeting, EBMUD announced that the drought restrictions were being lifted, which allowed the town to turn on the water features starting July 1.
"We're very excited that the restrictions have been rescinded," Somers stated.
She added that even though they have eased up on the restrictions, the utility district is still requesting that towns and residents try to continue limiting their water usage. Somers said the town aims to do what it can to keep its usage down.
"We have established that our operating hours are going to be from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, and then from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the weekends," she said.
Most of the features are in good shape and will be ready to fire up July 1, but Somers said a few of the elements at the Sycamore Valley Park will be offline until later in the summer while adjustments are made.
Danville parks that have water features include Hap Magee, Sycamore Valley, Diablo Vista and Oak Hill. The water features will remain operational through Oct. 1.
Last year Danville cut its water usage by about 30 percent to comply with EBMUD requirements. In addition to closing down water features in the parks, the town maintenance crews watered landscaping less frequently in the parks and at roadside areas.
They also stopped power-washing sidewalks and tennis courts and instead began to sweep and use blowers.
After a drought in the early 1990s, Danville spent several thousand dollars to replace dead plant life. Since then various procedures have been adopted to limit water use, such as using a central irrigation system and collecting "evapotraspiration" data to adjust watering based on plant needs. This time around, said Somers, Danville aimed to meet EBMUD's requirements while minimizing the aesthetic and financial harm to the town.