Dougherty Valley water supplier implements use restrictions

DSRSD board also OKs penalties, new rate structure, rebate program enhancements

People living and working in the Dougherty Valley area of San Ramon face new water restrictions as their water provider works to address supply shortages amid statewide drought conditions.

"This is a serious drought," said Dan Gallagher, operations manager and drought coordinator for the Dublin San Ramon Services District. "The bottom line is we must reduce water use now or the demand will exceed the supply."

The Board of Directors of DSRSD, which provides potable water to the Dougherty Valley and the city of Dublin, voted last Monday to implement water limitations, penalties for violations, a new rate structure and enhancements to agency rebate programs -- all part of an effort to reduce usage system-wide by 25%.

"Six of the past seven years have been dry. The snowpack is 5% of normal. These dry conditions could persist even beyond this year, because multi-year droughts are common in California," Gallagher added. "That's why our board took all these actions."

The overarching goal behind the actions is to encourage customers to reduce their water use by at least 5% indoors and 50-60% outdoors, according to DSRSD.

Restrictions approved by the DSRSD board include bans on washing vehicles, boats and trailers at home, no refilling existing swimming pools or hot tubs without a demonstrated health or safety need, requirements that people must fix known leaks and prohibitions on using potable water to clean outdoor surfaces such as driveways, sidewalks, patios and building exteriors.

People must also cut outdoor irrigation by 50% and comply with limitations such as watering no more than one day per week in May and no more than two days per week June through September, no watering between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. or within three days after rain, and no runoff, puddling or flooding caused by irrigation.

Residential water use cannot exceed 639 gallons of water per day, which officials said is the equivalent of 50 units per bimonthly bill. One unit of water equals 748 gallons, and DSRSD argues "a reasonable amount of water for residential customer use is 55 gallons per person per day."

Each violation would be a misdemeanor under the California Water Code.

The first violation would result in an oral or written warning and instructions on how the customer must correct the issue. The second violation would result in a $250 penalty, third violation would cost $500 and a fourth violation would cost $1,000.

A fifth documented violation would result in a reduction of that customer's water supply or disconnection of water service.

"This is not about enforcing or penalizing people; it's to encourage people to do the right thing," DSRSD general manager Bert Michalczyk said.

He likened his agency's water enforcement mindset to police officers monitoring speeding, saying the focus is not about stopping people going six or seven miles per hour faster than the speed limit but rather about catching "the Mustang going 90 mph."

New water consumption rates will take effect June 1 throughout the district.

Residents who use no more than 10 units bimonthly will see their per-unit rate increase to 89.7 cents. Those in Tier 2, or 11-34 units bimonthly, will see their rates nearly double to $2.15 per unit, and third-tier residents at 34-plus units will pay $4.02 per unit.

All commercial customers will be charged $2.16 per unit (compared to the normal rate of $1.23) through October and $1.55 per unit (up from $1.03) from November to April. Potable irrigation customers will have their rates nearly triple to $4.02 per unit.

Customers' bimonthly bills would remain about the same, or lower, if they reduce their water use by 35% while the new rate structure is in effect, DSRSD officials said.

The agency's directors also approved of establishing a "Wise Water User Credit Program," which would offer a one-time $2 per month credit to residential customers with a demonstrated history of high conservation, among other criteria.

Additionally, DSRSD enhanced rebates for customers who make water-conscious moves such as installing high-efficiency toilets and clothes washers, putting in pool or spa covers, using weather-based irrigation controllers and utilizing the lawn replacement program.

For more information on all DSRSD drought actions, call 828-0515 or visit the agency website.


Like this comment
Posted by Julia
a resident of Alamo
on May 13, 2014 at 8:23 am

Yes...and build more homes...Your city officials have their head in the sand.

Build, Build and Build some more...Maybe they should sit down and think and use their head for something other than a hat rack.

Thanks for listening, Julia from Alamo

Like this comment
Posted by Peter
a resident of Danville
on May 13, 2014 at 1:02 pm

Meanwhile, CC County is still considering allowing a massive new cemetery on Tassajara even though they have no idea where the water will come from to run this operation. And the city of San Ramon allows almost every massive development proposal. At the minimum, San Ramon, if they approve any new development, should allow only native landscaping that does not require irrigation.

Like this comment
Posted by GG
a resident of Danville
on May 13, 2014 at 1:26 pm

Hell hath done froze over.....I agree with Julia from Alamo.

Like this comment
Posted by Proud from San Ramon
a resident of San Ramon
on May 14, 2014 at 12:00 pm

The problem with this new blended Danville San Ramon express is that now San Ramon residents have to hear how inept and stupid we San Ramon residents are from people who don't even live here, and who presumably live in wonderfully perfect idyllic locations like Danville and Alamo where there are perfectly planned everything. I'm thinking Alamo has how many parks? how many pools? how many community centers? how many libraries? how many community theaters? how many play fields for their youth? how many senior centers? A robust and thriving City does have development, and many other services and amenities that go along with it.

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Posted by April
a resident of Danville
on May 14, 2014 at 12:19 pm

@Proud, agree with you. We live close to SR border and love what the combination of our two cities has to offer.

You are referring to Julia the Fool from Alamo, ignore her - she is a mess.

Like this comment
Posted by concerned for water
a resident of San Ramon
on May 15, 2014 at 6:33 am

what is the map(boundaries) for this initiative?

Like this comment
Posted by Ms. bunny
a resident of San Ramon
on May 15, 2014 at 7:38 am

The cemetery requires massive water? REALLY? -That's only if they employ grass everywhere as opposed to hardscape, some artificial turf, etc. I suspect it will be very conservative and a real boon aesthetically to the existing ugliness of Dougherty valley in general (sorry, but true - just one massive "wall to wall" development with LITTLE "breakup" of space)

I'd be and I am, more concerned about the water it's going to take to supply the new 740 homes on Faria in San Ramon...Remember: this development was approved long ago. Again I say, you can't trump the developer's right to build on their land, you can only mitigate factors involved therein. The city's hands are "tied" to some degree and that should be fairly obvious to most of you.

BTW? I have no problem with "sister city" Danville citizens commenting. C'mon, we're all in one west valley here, aren't we? We share many of the same issues.

Like this comment
Posted by Shari
a resident of San Ramon
on May 15, 2014 at 5:10 pm

I would like to know how much water I am using now like by the day so I would have an idea how I am doing. Not wait a month to find out if I am over or under the restriction. Is that information somewhere? Thanks in advance.

Like this comment
Posted by tiki3
a resident of San Ramon
on May 15, 2014 at 6:54 pm

Shari, I'd like that, too.

Ms Bunny, after doing a quick search, it seems traditional cemeteries use more water than at least I suspected. Makes sense, though, considering how much grass there is. I did a search for "hardscape cemeteries" and wasn't too thrilled with what google had to offer. Could you post some links to some examples of what you have in mind?

Like this comment
Posted by Flylooper
a resident of Danville
on Jul 20, 2014 at 6:14 am

I recently (early June) visited my sister in Danville, driving down from my home in Oregon. I once lived in Dublin so I am not a stranger to the area. What absolutely floored me was how green everything was. People's lawns were uniformly manicured and lush, shrubbery was looking perfect, the Crow Canyon golf course was in perfect condition and, even, a few folks were washing their Audis in their driveway. How, I asked myself, do these people delude themselves into thinking the worst drought in California history has nothing to do with them? Good Lord, people! Wake up.

Aside from the outright ugliness of the cookie cutter housing and shopping malls which have evolved everywhere in that valley, it looks like the Tri Valley is ripe for looking like a bloody ghost town when the water finally runs out. Unrestricted development has done y'all in.

Like this comment
Posted by Flylooper
a resident of another community
on Jul 20, 2014 at 6:22 am

BTW, I'm not a resident of Danville. And don't want to be.

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

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