in this third year of drought conservation is critical

The drought conditions in California and particularly Northern California are real. We are experiencing an unprecedented drought. The 2020-21 Water Year was the driest year on record for the Tri-Valley. Now January and February have set new records for lack of rainfall and no significant storms are forecast for March.

On March 18, 2022, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) cut the State Water Project allocation down to 5%. A decrease from the previously set 15% allocation earlier this year. The revised allocation significantly limits the amount of new water available to the Tri Valley. This will be the third consecutive year of drought conditions and reduced allocations of State Water Project water.

Zone 7 has proactively planned for multiple dry years, but conservation is an important part of the water supply portfolio.  Due to the significantly reduced availability of State Water Project water in 2020, 2021 and now 2022, the Agency has been relying heavily on the groundwater basin, which holds the imported water Zone 7 banks there during wet years to sustain the Tri-Valley during the drought. However, that supply will only stretch so far, and conservation is a key piece to prolonging the supply held in the groundwater basin.

On September 1, 2021 the Zone 7 Board of Directors 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 including California Water Service, City of Livermore, City of Pleasanton and Dublin San Ramon Services District. Each jurisdiction has enacted their own measures for achieving 15% conservation. Please visit the resources below for information on your service area.

With Zone 7’s declaration of a Local Drought Emergency, implementation of construction projects to improve water supply reliability can be expedited.

Retailer Water Conservation Measures and Regulations:

Zone 7 does not set any specific regulations for retailers to implement to reach the 15% mandatory conservation target, these are set by individual jurisdictions. Check below to learn more about measures and regulations set by your water retailer or city. 

Dublin San Ramon Services District (DSRSD)

As of September 21, 2021, DSRSD is operating under a Stage 2 Water Shortage Emergency, which requires increased regulations which are as follows:

  • Outdoor irrigation is limited to occur between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. to reduce evaporation

  • Outdoor irrigation during and within 48 hours after measurable rainfall is prohibited

  • Outdoor irrigation is limited to no more than three non-consecutive days per week

  • From November 1 through February 28, outdoor irrigation is limited to one day per week

  • Customers must repair or stop water leaks upon discovery or within 24 hours notification by the District

  • Washing hard surfaces such as buildings, fences, and vehicles with potable water is prohibited, except for building exteriors and fences for the sole purpose of repainting or repairs. Pressurized washers must be equipped with a quick action shut-off nozzle

  • Cleaning windows using a direct connection to potable water is prohibited

  • Restaurants, cafes, and other public places where food is sold/served may only serve water upon request

  • Commercial kitchens are required to use pre-rinse spray valves

  • Lodging establishments must offer the option for customers to opt out of daily linen service

  • The use of potable water for construction and dust control is prohibited. All potable water construction meters are required to be replaced with recycled water construction meters.

To learn more about DSRSD’s mandatory water use restrictions, visit www.dsrsd.com/outreach/water-conservation

City of Livermore/California Water Service

There are two water service providers in Livermore – the City of Livermore (Livermore Municipal Water) and California Water Service (Cal Water). The following watering restrictions now apply to all properties within city limits, regardless of their water service provider.

On Monday Sept. 27, 2021 the Livermore City Council enacted the following mandatory water use restrictions: 

  • All landscaping within the City of Livermore may now only be watered a maximum of three times per week. Properties with odd numbered street addresses may only water on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Properties with even numbered street addresses may only be watered on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. No watering is allowed on Sundays.

  • No sprinkler irrigation is allowed between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

  • Watering is allowed at any time during a property’s approved watering days if a hose with an automatic shut-off nozzle, a hand-held container such as a watering can, or a drip irrigation system is used.

  • To learn more about Livermore’s mandatory water use restrictions, visit www.cityoflivermore.net/drought or call the City of Livermore Drought Hotline at (925) 960-8180.

City of Pleasanton

On Tuesday, October 5, 2021 the Pleasanton City Council declared a Local Drought Emergency and Stage 2 Water Shortage, with a 15% water use reduction compared to the same time period in 2020. This action does not include the activation of drought rates or excess use penalties. Conservation measures include:

  • Only water lawns and ornamental landscaping between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. the following day; with the exception of drip irrigation, hand watering with a shut-off nozzle equipped hose, special landscaping*, and while conducting irrigation system checks. · Reduce outdoor irrigation of lawn and ornamental landscaping.

  • Water in a manner that does not result in runoff onto non-irrigated areas, such as sidewalks or roadways.

  • Watering outdoors is prohibited during and within 48 hours of measureable rainfall. · The use of drinking water to wash driveways, sidewalks, or other hard surface areas is prohibited. Wash vehicles only with the use of a hose equipped with a functioning shut-off nozzle. Wash water is prohibited from entering the storm drain system (street gutter). Recommended to take your vehicle to a commercial car wash.

  • All decorative fountains and water features using potable water shall be recirculating. · Repair leaks or breaks within 8 hours of discovery or notification. · Pools and spas shall remain covered when not in use to prevent evaporation, and shall be equipped with a recirculating pump(s).

  • Reduce other interior or exterior uses of water to minimize water waste.

  • Restaurants shall serve water to their customers only when specifically requested by the customer.

  • Operators of hotels/motels shall provide their guests the option of choosing not to launder towels & linens daily.

  • Commercial power washing and use of water for construction activities shall utilize recycled water in a manner that does not result in runoff or water entry into the storm drain system.

  • Commercial customers should post water conservation messages on bathroom mirrors.

  • To learn more about Pleasanton’s mandatory water use restrictions, click here.

*Special landscaping is defined as landscape dedicated solely to edible plants, recreational areas (i.e. parks, sports fields, golf course tees, fairways, and greens), recycled water use areas, and water-features using recycled water.
Last Water year’s Rainfall was LOWER Than the Driest Year on Record

Our Stored Water Is Also DWINDLING

As a result of the dismal amount of rainfall, we need to use our stored water sparingly. Water in our reservoirs and groundwater “savings account” are being depleted as we rely on them during the drought. 

where does our water come from? 

The water that flows from your tap originated from a number of sources including snowpack, rainfall and underground aquifers. 

The majority of the Tri-Valley’s water supply is imported from outside the region. On average 70% of our water comes from the Northern Sierra Nevada Mountains as rainfall and snowmelt. Water from the Feather River Watershed is captured in Oroville Reservoir and flows downstream where it is delivered by infrastructure created and maintained by the Department Water Resources as part of the State Water Project (SWP) system.  

The SWP system conveys the water from the Feather River Watershed and on through the California Delta. The majority of the water that comes to Zone 7 is then conveyed from the Delta to the South Bay Aqueduct to the Tri-Valley area. However, during dry years such as this one, the water available from the SWP may be severely limited, which is why we plan strategically to ensure we can sustain short cycles of drought by having water stored in underground aquifers or groundwater basins and surface water reservoirs.

The Livermore Valley Groundwater Basin is critical for the Tri-Valley in providing water in normal years and weathering short-term droughts, providing locally stored water when imported water is unavailable or limited. Zone 7 serves as the sustainable groundwater manager for the basin — recharging it in normal and wet years and carefully monitoring it during dry years to ensure it does not become overdrawn.

We also receive water in the form of rainfall runoff stored in our local reservoir, Lake Del Valle.

Drought periods, such as the one we are experiencing now, mean we use different sources of water, which may be treated differently as well.


The Tri-Valley imports approximately 70% of its water from Lake Oroville through the State Water Project. Images above show the water levels in Lake Oroville in 2016 following heavy rains (left) and in 2021 following a second dry year (right).  On August 3, 2021 the lake reached a new historic low elevation of 642.73 feet. (Photos courtesy of the California Department of Water Resources.)

As drought conditions continue in 2022, we need the community’s help in meeting the 15% conservation goal to preserve water for 2023, and perhaps beyond.  The water we all save this year, will help us weather another dry year next year. Please continue to help us reach the 15% goal. If we all save A LITTLE, we save A LOT.

A few ways you can help:

Check the resources below for more ways to save. 

    1. Reduce outdoor irrigation: Outdoor irrigation makes up a whopping 60% of household water use. Cutting back on your irrigation is the most impactful way to help the community save water for next year – water outdoors at least one less time per week.   Outdoor water restrictions are in effect so be sure to check your water retailer for the most up to date outdoor water use guidelines found below.
    2. Check for leaks: Those little faucet drops add up. Read more about fix-a-leak tips from Water Wise Wendy. 
    3. Take advantage of rebates: Zone 7 offers rebates for converting your thirsty lawn to a water-wise native garden or installing a water efficient sprinkler system. Fall is a great time to convert your thirsty lawn to a beautiful water-wise oasis.