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Continuing extreme drought conditions prompted Zone 7's Board of Directors to set forth water demand reduction measures needed to achieve an overall 25% cutback in treated and untreated water deliveries for 2014. The conditions are continuing in 2015.
Zone 7's 2014 Annual Review of Sustainable Water Supply was presented to the board of April 16, 2014. Among other things, it clarified the need for water retailers serving Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin and Dougherty Valley to achieve conservation consistent with "Stage 2 Actions" under Zone 7's Urban Water Management Plan. To view a new brochure that outlines many of the conservation actions from the plan, click here.
Because the majority of water used for non-public health and safety is used outdoors, attaining a 25% reduction over the course of the entire year will require a much larger cutback in outdoor water use this summer.
The Stage 2 Action Plan consists of:
1) Reduce Indoor water use by 5%
2) Reduce outdoor water use by 50-60% (these limitations apply only to outdoor use of tap water; they do not apply to applications or use of recycled water).
The following practices are prohibited during the Drought Emergency:
Lawn and Landscape Irrigation Limitations
As with potable water customers, agricultural (untreated water) customers will be provided no more than 75% of their projected demands (i.e., untreated water customers must also reduce their demands by at least 25%).
Drought's effect on water hardness
In addition to the need for businesses and residents to reduce water use, another impact of the drought has to do with changes in water quality as the Valley relies more heavily on the water stored in its groundwater basin. Because imported State Water Project supplies normally conveyed through the Delta have been reduced this year from the average of 60% to a mere 5% of Zone 7’s contract amount, Zone 7 will be withdrawing from the water stored as groundwater during previous wet years to meet local demands. Using water from groundwater storage allows Zone 7 to deliver 75% of local demands instead of the 5% that would otherwise be available without this wonderful, invisible storage facility.
This use of groundwater means many more customers will be receiving well water than during a normal year. Even for those customers who routinely receive groundwater, there might be increased hardness due to reduced use of the demineralization facility (which reduces hardness but does so by “wasting” about 15% of the groundwater pumped).
As a result, some residents in the valley might notice that the water coming from their taps is “hard.” Hard water contains a higher amount of naturally-occurring minerals, particularly calcium and magnesium, than soft water. While hard water can create water spots and scale buildup on plumbing fixtures, it is safe for drinking, cooking and other household uses (in fact, calcium carbonate is the same mineral found in calcium vitamin supplements). Your water continues to meet all state and federal drinking water standards by a comfortable margin.