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Water Usage Down Despite Overuse From Some Customers

The majority of residents are cutting back but do you know what to do if you see something like this around town?

PLEASANTON, Ca: Water pooling on the sidewalk. Photo Credit: Autumn Johnson
PLEASANTON, Ca: Water pooling on the sidewalk. Photo Credit: Autumn Johnson
By AUTUMN JOHNSON

Have you seen it in your Pleasanton neighborhood? Green grass, wet sidewalks, sprinklers on at noon and even an occasional pooling of water run-off from sprinklers? 

Drive down residential streets in Pleasanton and you will likely notice that the curbside appeal of most homes has evolved to parched, brown grass becoming the necessary trend of the season but what do you do if you see a yard that looks lush as a rainforest? 

According to city water officials, most Pleasanton residents are taking the drought seriously and say reporting those who are choosing not to comply is simple.

Pleasanton Water Conservation Manager Rita Di Candi said,  "Since Council’s declaration of 25 percent mandatory water reduction in May, the community’s water use decreased 27 percent in May compared to 2013, and between June 1- 16, 35 percent compared to 2013 use. The City-wide 2014 reduction year to date is 20 percent. So, the community is definitely responding."

Daniel Smith, the Director of Operations for City of Pleasanton, says there are two easy ways for residents to report those who are not doing their part to reduce water usage in observance of the city-mandated reduction.

According to Smith, residents can either call a city hotline at 925-931-5504 or use the free "Mobile Citizen" phone application to report water violations. 

Related article: City of Pleasanton Launches Mobile Phone Application

On June 17, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that despite warnings from the governor and water officials about the statewide drought, Californians have cut water usage by a mere five percent overall, with residents in the Bay Area being the worst offenders, reducing usage by meager two percent, according to a recent state survey.

Earlier this year, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought state of emergency and called on all Californians to reduce their water usage by 20 percent. According to the numbers reported to the city council Tuesday night, Pleasanton seems to be meeting that goal.

Smith offers tips to help residents reduce their water usage overall:
  • Set your irrigation controller to water your landscaping 1 or 2 times a week maximum.
  • Only water between 6pm and 9am to prevent up to 25 gallons of water loss from evaporation and wind!
  • Check your sprinklers and watering run time to make sure you are only watering your landscaping, instead of the sidewalk!
  • Add a 2 or 3 inch layer of mulch on exposed dirt to help keep the soil cool and reduce water loss from evaporation.
  • Have a pool? Make sure to cover it when it’s not in use. Pool covers drastically reduce the rate of evaporation, reducing the need to add more water to maintain the water level.
  • Check all your valves and outdoor faucets/hoses for leaks, and fix any you find right away!
Indoors:
  • Replace old water-guzzling top-loading washers with an Energy Star Most Efficient clothes washer (Rebates available)
  • Run the dishwasher and clothes washer only on full loads.
  • Use a dishwasher to wash dishes, instead of washing them by hand.
  • The majority of indoor water use is from toilet flushing. Replace larger flush volume toilets with a High-Efficiency Toilet that uses only 1.28 gallons per flush. That’s a water savings of about 19 gallons per person/day!
  • Use the wastebasket for trash, rather than the toilet to reduce the number of flushes you do each day.
  • Install water-efficient shower heads and aerators on faucets
  • Check your whole house for leaks: use dye strips to check for toilet leaks and sink faucets for drips. If you find any, get them fixed right away!
  • Take shorter showers. Challenge yourself to showering in under 5 minutes!
  • Don’t forget some easy behavioral changes too: turn the tap off while brushing teeth or shaving, and collect water while rinsing fruit and vegetables to use on your house plants!

What steps are you taking to save water? Have you seen residents committing water violations in Pleasanton? What did you do about it? Tell us in the comments section.

PKG June 19, 2014 at 10:32 AM
If you have achieved your 25% reduction then I don't think a green lawn should get you in trouble. But, if you are watering during a time of day when evaporation of that water is at its highest and you are watering your concrete than you are wasting the water. No one should be wasting the water!
Bazinga June 19, 2014 at 11:29 AM
We use gray water to water our lawn. Just hook a hose to your washing machine and have the water (using "grey water" safe detergent and no bleach) drain into a 50 gallon rain catcher tub, you can buy on line or at HD. We have it on a dolly so that it's easy to move. Buy a small hose, a water pump and a couple of sprinklers with hose connectors, and you can water your whole lawn in between the non-water days. It's kept our lawn green.
LP Smith June 19, 2014 at 12:28 PM
I'm a bit more than surprised that the Patch and the City would endorse "tattling" on your neighbors. Green lawns, and puddled water, don't equate to "not doing your part" to conserve water. Per the City's own guidelines, watering is permitted. The idea here is to conserve and not become a police state! Having a hotline for reporting anomalies (broken pipes, stuck valves, etc.) is a wonderful idea, but reporting our neighbors stirs an emotional pot that the community doesn't need. Comments along these lines from City officials and reporting by the Patch only serves to create unnecessary animosity and divisiveness within the community.
Major Hill June 20, 2014 at 09:25 PM
Here we are again in a water shortage and we all have to suffer. I would think, after the last drought, someone in our paid Government would have done something about this problem. Water storage is one way to save us this headache. If the City had decided to make a storage lake instead of a Golf course in our town, we might not be in this position. Regarding the fines some of us will, no doubt, have to pay I think it's only fair the city tells us where the money is going. If we're paying a fine for over watering I would think the fine money should go to correcting a water shortage our elected people have overlooked for years...
Andy Smith July 02, 2014 at 11:49 AM
I have not seen this mentioned anywhere, so I'll mention it here. Check your water bill, because if you use 12 units of water or less per month, the 25% reduction DOES NOT APPLY to you. That's because 12 units or less is considered an "ultra low user" of water, and they realize that there is nothing you can do to reduce any more than you already have. The reason I found out is because I was very concerned that I would be fined, because I could not think of one single thing I could do to reduce my water usage--not one. So I called them, and found out that I am only using 4 units per month, well below the 12, so I am an ultra-ultra low user already, so I do not have to reduce anything. I would suspect that there are many others in my situation, especially if you live alone and/or live in a condo or townhome where you don't have a yard or pool to water. So just check your bill----it says right on there how many units you are using.

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