Zone 7 Board of Directors met last night at a special board meeting and voted unanimously on a resolution declaring a Drought Emergency and Stage 2 Water Shortage Emergency. This declaration includes mandatory 15% conservation from all Zone 7 retailers. Zone 7 has also declared a Local Drought Emergency which will expedite implementation of construction projects to improve water supply reliability. The Valley Pump Station will now move up from a Summer 2023 completion to a Summer 2022 completion with board approval at the September 15 board meeting.
This is the second dry year in a row and low storage and continued dry conditions have limited opportunities for Zone 7 to purchase water. All efforts made to conserve in 2021 are intended to help lessen the potential reductions in 2022. Zone 7 is not recommending drought rates or changes to the current rate structure. Each Zone 7 retailer will be responsible for determining how they will implement the mandatory 15% conservation requirement and what that means for their customers.
“This is an important step in ensuring long-term water reliability for the Tri-Valley area. We need to take this action now to make sure our community has enough water in the immediate future.” said President Ramirez Holmes. “We’re doing what we can now to try to prevent more drastic steps in 2022.”
In March 2021, Zone 7 requested a 10% voluntary conservation from 2020 water demands, then in July, increased the request to 15% to align with the Governors statewide call to action. Zone 7 saw water savings of about 7% overall in July versus July 2020 and has determined more significant action is necessary in order to ensure water reliability in 2022.
Zone 7 has been working with the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and other agencies to deal with current drought conditions and to monitor potential drought conditions for calendar year 2022.
Approximately 70% of the Tri-Valley’s water is purchased and imported through the State Water Project (SWP), which diverts water from the Feather River and stores it in Lake Oroville before delivering it through the Delta into the South Bay Aqueduct where it is picked up by Zone 7. Due to the extremely low storage in the SWP water system Zone 7 only received 5% of its water allocation this year and if drought conditions persist, it is possible that Zone 7 may again receive very limited deliveries from the SWP in 2022.
Zone 7 has multiple sources of water supply storage, including its local groundwater basin which the agency proactively manages and recharges with imported SWP water in wet years in order to weather the dry years.
It has also invested in non-local groundwater storage and purchased additional water supplies for calendar year 2021, but these have significant costs and will not sustain the region through a prolonged drought.
Increased water conservation by our community will help to reduce these costs and will also position the Tri-Valley better for calendar year 2022 should these drought conditions continue. The community has banded together in the past to help ensure that water supplies for the region are protected, and Zone 7 is hoping that they will heed that call once again.
One of the most impactful ways they can do this is by reducing outdoor irrigation, which makes up 60-70% of household use. Those that don’t have landscaping, may consider installing water efficient appliances. Zone 7 now offers a $200 rebate towards the purchase of a High Efficiency washing machine. For more info visit www.zone7water.com/rebate-program.
As a water wholesaler, Zone 7’s declaration of a drought emergency will impact all of their water retailers including California Water Service Company, City of Livermore, City of Pleasanton and Dublin San Ramon Services District.
As drought conditions evolve, the Tri-Valley’s water agencies will continue to provide water use updates. For more tips on ways to conserve water, visit the following:
- Zone 7 Water Agency: www.zone7water.com/waterwise
- California Water Service: www.calwater.com/conservation
- City of Livermore: www.cityoflivermore.net/savewater
- City of Pleasanton: www.pleasantonwaterconservation.com
- DSRSD: www.dsrsd.com/outreach/water-conservation
- California Department of Water Resources: www.SaveOurWater.com