Mountain View Voice

News - February 7, 2014

Local water districts urge conservation

Residents urged to cut consumption by 10 percent

by Nick Veronin

Mountain View residents are being asked to cut water consumption by 10 percent, responding to the governor's call for local water agencies to activate their drought contingency plans. The Santa Clara Valley Water District and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission have each set water reduction goals of 10 percent for their service areas, both of which include parts of Mountain View.

The city receives the bulk (87 percent) of its water supply from the San Francisco PUC, while the Santa Clara Valley Water District provides most of the remainder.

Marty Grimes, a spokesman for the water district, said the board hopes people will heed the recommendation and begin doing their part to reduce water usage whenever possible. Consumers can help by taking shorter showers, only running full loads through the dishwasher and washing machine, and not letting the faucet run while they brush their teeth.

Every little bit helps, Grimes said, emphasizing the importance of conservation. "It's pretty serious," he said of the current drought conditions. Last year was the driest on record for Santa Clara County — the third "critically dry year" in a row for the region — and many area creeks creeks are drying up as local reservoirs are not being replenished and have dropped to 54 percent of the 20-year average.

However, despite the dry spell, the district is not at risk of getting tapped out, at least not yet. According to a press release, because of careful water management, the county's local water sources are in "fair shape."

Still, Grimes said, consumers need to do their part. The drought is "even more serious around the state," he explained. That means the district can't rely on getting much help from the Central Valley Project — the federal water management authority, which in the past has supplied water to the area, but is expected to only divert a fraction of its normal delivery this year.

The California State Water Project, the state's version of the Central Valley Project, announced on Jan. 31 that it would not be supplying any cities with water this year.

"This is a very good time to think about how you use water in your home — both inside and out," Grimes said, adding that the Santa Clara Valley Water District offers incentives and programs to help consumers reduce their usage.

Grimes pointed to rebate programs offered by the district, as well as the Water-Wise House Call — a free service, in which a district water use expert comes out to your home and helps you figure out ways to reduce water consumption.

To learn more about how the Santa Clara Valley Water District can help you, check out the "Water Conservation" page on their website at valleywater.org/programs/waterconservation.aspx. You can also call the district's main line, at (404) 265-2600.

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