The rain falling right now will help, but it isn’t enough yet to change the drought picture. The latest news is the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) board decision last night to raise their countywide water-saving target to 20%.
The SCVWD is not Palo Alto’s supplier and does not enforce limits or impose penalties, but Palo Alto always has and always will work to be cooperative with their efforts to manage local water supplies. We partner with them to provide free water conservation services and rebate programs.
However, Palo Alto’s supplier, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), has only called so far for a 10% voluntary reduction in water use and that remains our primary action guide. The SFPUC is expected to provide an update on its water supply situation by the end of February. It may increase its request for water use reductions then, or may wait until April 15.
So what does this mean for the Palo Alto community?
The main message to everyone here continues to be keep calm and save water! TODAY is the right time to start making smart water-use efficiency improvements. Outdoor landscape water use is where the biggest impacts can be made, but there are many easy steps to cut indoor use without “suffering.” Here are just a few ideas:
- Check for leaks (indoors and out)---this simple action saves many residents and businesses hundreds of gallons of water, not to mention saving big bucks on their bills.
- Be sure your irrigation system is on timers, that there is no runoff to the street and that you are watering only in early morning or later evening---and for heaven’s sake be sure the sprinklers are turned off when it is raining!
- Look over your home or business grounds---are there places where water-guzzling, little-used lawn could be replaced with gorgeous native plants and ground covers?
- Got an old toilet or showerhead? Replace it with a nifty high-efficiency version and get a nice rebate for doing it!
People should visit www.cityofpaloalto.org/water for details on the supply situation, links to rebate information and more. City Utilities staff will be conducting a study session on the water situation with the City Council on March 3rd .