Danville council receives water supply update

EBMUD director says local outlook isn't as bad as other parts of California

California's water supply has reached a "crisis situation" amid drought conditions, but the outlook for Danville and some its neighbors isn't as dire as other parts of the state, according to an East Bay Municipal Utility District official.

"We are in a situation where we have a water shortage. Fortunately we're not as bad as some water agencies throughout the state," John Coleman, who sits on the EBMUD Board of Directors, told the Danville Town Council on Tuesday night at the Town Meeting Hall.

EBMUD, like most California water agencies, have been severely impacted by dry weather in the Sierra Nevada mountains. The Northern Sierra snowpack water level stood at 21% of normal Friday, according to data collected by the California Department of Water Resources.

EBMUD typically receives about 90% of its annual water supply from the Sierra's Mokelumne River watershed, which has received 46% less precipitation than normal for this time of year.

Despite the dry conditions, the district's water supply remains in fair shape, in part because of customer conservation, agency planning and infrastructure improvements, according to Coleman, whose representation area includes greater Danville.

The reservoirs EBMUD depends on sat at 63% full as of Thursday.

The district has asked those in its service area to voluntarily reduce their water use by 10% to preserve the water supply, but that request comes with a caveat, Coleman said.

"We also realize that some people have already cut back considerably, so we're not asking them to cut back any more," he added. "I ask people to use the water wisely. Don't waste it because if it is wasted and not used wisely, then we are going to be in a more dire situation where dramatic things may need to be in place."

The EBMUD board is not currently considering implementing mandatory reductions, but Coleman acknowledged that rationing could be put on the table if drought conditions persist.

Mayor Robert Storer and Councilwoman Renee Morgan asked whether EBMUD has developed a water-rate structure for potential rationing.

Coleman said the rate structure is undecided at this point, but agency officials would likely calculate unique base levels for each zip code -- based on average use dating back two or three years, as opposed to creating a base from current usage during the drought.

One option that could prevent mandatory rationing would be accessing water from the Freeport Regional Water Facility, but that move would result in increased rates to cover costs of purchasing, treating and delivering water from the Sacramento River watershed, Coleman said.

EBMUD staff is set to present regular updates about the water situation during board meetings in Oakland.

In the meantime, Coleman said he's also holding out hope for wetter weather late into, and even beyond, the traditional rainy season.

And to protect the water supply going forward, local and state officials need to explore a variety of options, including increased water storage, water transfers, using recycled water and desalination, according to Coleman.

"What we need to do is plan for the future," he added. "In 10 years if we're standing here talking about the same thing, we haven't done our job."

Updates on the current local water supply are available on the EBMUD website.

In other business, the Danville council presented a proclamation declaring this Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Month.

Council members also announced recruitment for positions on two town commissions and one regional committee.

They are looking for one youth representative on the Arts Commission, and four regular members and one youth member on the Parks and Leisure Services Commission. They also seek a Danville representative to sit on the County Connection Advisory Committee.

All terms begin July 1. To apply or receive more information, contact City Clerk Marie Sunseri at 314-3401 or


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Posted by Julia
a resident of Alamo
on Mar 10, 2014 at 9:59 am

Well I am sure Mr. Coleman made the Town Council feel good about the water issue..Now they can approve more development projects that will use up more and more water. Go for it Town sad folks have one thing in mind...How can I continue my career in public life and how can I vote to bring in more money to the town coffers.

Brains in limbo...Thanks for listening, Julia Pardini from Alamo

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Posted by Aline Soules
a resident of Danville
on Mar 10, 2014 at 12:23 pm

I, too, think that we need to reconsider how much more "development" we will support. It's a dilemma between limiting construction to discourage more residents in order to save water and limiting construction thereby driving up home prices. For those already here, it's easy to say we should limit construction, but if we want our economy to thrive, growth is required. There is no simple answer.

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Posted by Louise
a resident of Danville
on Mar 10, 2014 at 1:43 pm

Developers,town planners and councils do not think about water or other issues when building new projects. Their focus is single minded. They want revenue and profits. To hell with high density, traffic and more pollution. Also, they are being mandated now by the federal and state affordable housing legislators who have passed laws to include affordable housing in all new projects so they can actually build more high density. It has become defensible as politcally correct and helping those who couldn't afford to live in these towns otherwise. It is a new world order, get used to it.

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Posted by Alex
a resident of Blackhawk
on Mar 10, 2014 at 2:29 pm

To the anti development mob - do you have pools, how long are your showers, do you have water resistant landscaping.

If you are not doing your part, you do not have a right to bash development as a way to conserve water.

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Posted by Fed Up
a resident of Danville
on Mar 12, 2014 at 10:18 am

@ Alex, if you exist, you use water. Under your logic, no one, therefore, is entitled to argue against hooking more and more new homes and their residents up to the water lines. You must be a developer, a Town of Danville employee, or be on the Danville Town Council--- or perhaps those are actually three different names for the same people!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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