As third year of drought imminent, State Water Project allocations reduced
Zone 7 Water Agency and the Tri-Valley’s water service providers ask community to look closely at outdoor water use to meet conservation goals
TRI-VALLEY, CA (March 22, 2022). On March 18, 2022, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) — prompted by the driest January and February on record, below average snowpack, and low reservoir levels, cut the State Water Project allocation to 5%. DWR previously set the allocation at 15% earlier this year.
The revised allocation significantly limits the amount of new water supply available to the Tri-Valley, which relies on Zone 7 Water Agency (Zone 7) to import approximately 70% of its total water supply from the State Water Project during typical years. Twenty twenty-two will be the third consecutive year of drought conditions and reduced State Water Project allocations.
Water supply managers, like Zone 7, had hoped for more rain and snow, but understood that drought conditions could continue through 2022 and were already preparing for a dry 2023.
Zone 7 has proactively planned for multiple dry years, but conservation is an important part of the Tri-Valley’s water supply portfolio. Due to the significantly reduced availability of State Water Project water in 2020, 2021, and now 2022, Zone 7 has been relying heavily on the Tri-Valley’s groundwater basin, which holds the imported water Zone 7 stores during wet years to sustain the Tri-Valley during the drought. However, that supply can only stretch so far, and conservation is a key piece to prolonging the supply held in the groundwater basin.
The Tri-Valley had a tremendous response to calls for mandatory conservation, achieving 20%, 29%, and 16% water savings in October, November, and December 2021 respectively. The Tri-Valley’s water agencies thank the community for heeding those calls. However, 2022 started off dry, and conservation quickly receded. In January, water use was 2% higher than 2020 benchmark levels and last month, the Tri-Valley saw only 1% conservation.
“Outdoor water use is the biggest lever we have to use in weathering this drought. When the rain didn’t come and the temperatures rose, people began turning on their outdoor irrigation and that was clearly reflected in the data we have,” noted General Manager Valerie Pryor. “We need every single resident and business to take a closer look at their irrigation practices and look for ways to cut back and be more efficient.”
Some tips for improving outdoor water efficiency include:
- Only water between 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. to reduce evaporation.
- Check systems quarterly to ensure there are no leaks or runoff.
- Limit irrigation to no more than 3 non-consecutive days per week.
- Add a 2-to-3-inch layer of mulch to landscapes to reduce moisture loss.
- Leave grass clippings on the lawn to return moisture and nutrients to the soil.
- Mow less frequently to allow blades of grass to grow longer to better shade the soil.
- Consider replacing lawn with a low-water landscaping.
Last September, Zone 7 Water Agency declared a Drought Emergency and Stage 2 Water Shortage Emergency. This declaration, still in in effect — included mandatory 15% water conservation from all Tri-Valley water service providers, which are the Cities of Livermore and Pleasanton, Dublin San Ramon Services District (DSRSD), and California Water Service (Cal Water). For the latest info on the drought, local water use restrictions and water saving rebates visit www.zone7water.com/drought.
Residents and businesses are advised to visit their local water supplier website for specific restriction information.
City of Livermore and Cal Water
There are two water service providers in Livermore – the City of Livermore (Livermore Municipal Water) and Cal Water. Water restrictions apply to all properties within city limits and can be found at www.cityoflivermore.net/drought, regardless of their water service provider. Cal Water customers can also find conservation information at www.calwater.com/conservation.
City of Pleasanton
About Tri-Valley’s Water Agencies: Zone 7 Water Agency treats and manages water supplies for eastern Alameda County, including the city limits of Livermore, Pleasanton, and Dublin and the Dougherty Valley area of San Ramon. Drinking water service is provided to these regions by the Tri-Valley’s water retailers – Cal Water, the Cities of Livermore and Pleasanton, and DSRSD.