- Feb 12:
- Contra Costa Times editorial: Water districts should impose conservation measures now
- Oakland Tribune editorial: Water districts should impose conservation measures now
- Feb 7:
- California Drought: Desperately needed rain, courtesy of "Pineapple Express" slamming into California
- Feb 6:
- Drought doesn't mean doom for your plants
- Rain soaks Bay Area, another storm coming
- California drought: Big rain headed toward Bay Area could double dismal rainfall totals
- Feb 5:
- California drought: How bad is it?
- California drought: House water bill exposes deep partisan divide
- Feb 4:
- Fremont district urges conservation, offers water-saving program as drought persists
- Gov. Jerry Brown calls congressional Republican drought bill 'divisive'
- Roadshow: Caltrans watering less as drought continues
- Feb 3:
- North Bay homeowners slash water usage through creative conservation
- California drought: Biggest rainfall of 2014 soaks Bay Area
- Jan 31:
- California drought: State Water Project will deliver no water this summer
- Gov. Brown says flush less as California struggles with drought
- Drought shakes off winter for perilous early spring
- Jan 30:
- Obama pledges support amid California drought
- California wine industry reports robust 2013, but worries loom about drought
- Drizzle brings hope to thirsty California but does nothing to deter drought
- Jan 29:
- Bay Area wakes up to drizzle as light rain appears for first time in more than a month
- Jan 28:
- California drought: 17 communities could run out of water within 60 to 120 days, state says
- Jan 27:
- Water oak trees if needed, but not too much
- Rain expected this week won't put dent in the drought, forecasters say
- Gold prospectors take advantage of California drought
- California drought: Bay Area water districts start asking urban residents to conserve
- Jan 26:
- After decades of payments, EBMUD may finally use its emergency water supply
- Jan 25:
- California drought: Past dry periods have lasted more than 200 years, scientists say
- Jan 23:
- Around Dublin: Do your part now to get ahead of drought
- Jan 22:
- Drought: California is a red state, if you're talking weather
- Jan 21:
- California drought: Tips for conserving water
- Jan 18:
- Snow makers rescue big Sierra resorts as drought bakes smaller ones
- Jan 17:
- Brown declares California drought emergency
- California drought: Three more months of dry weather likely, National Weather Service announces
- Jan 16:
- Drought declared a natural disaster in California, 10 other states
- Jan 14:
- Drought imperils California salmon, steelhead
- California drought: What's causing it?
- Jan 10:
- Despite California drought, chances for water bond are evaporating
- Jan 8:
- Timm Herdt: Learning to adapt to droughts
- Jan 3:
- Barnidge: California droughts aren't nearly as scary as they used to be
- Dec 29:
- California drought deepens as another year's rains stay away
LIVERMORE -- A Tri-Valley water supplier is asking its 200,000 customers to voluntarily reduce water use 20 percent during the early part of this drought year.
And to ease shortages, the Zone 7 Water Agency board agreed on Wednesday to speed up construction of some $11 million in planned new wells and pipes to deliver and capture local groundwater.
Zone 7 managers said they fear the state will order large and possibly even a 100 percent cut in the district's allocation of state water from the Delta, the source of 80 to 90 percent of the wholesale water the district sells to local water departments serving Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin and the Dougherty Valley in San Ramon.
A buoy lies near it's bucket anchor on the dry lakebed near one of the two swimming areas at Lake Del Valle on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, in Livermore, Calif. Water levels in the lake near Livermore are near normal for this time of year, but continued dry weather would leave little winter and spring runoff to fill the lake. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)
Because it does not sell water directly to homeowners, Zone 7 cannot ration customers directly.
But to reinforce the conservation message in a dry year, the Zone 7 board declared a drought emergency on Wednesday and authorized General Manager Jill Duerig to set the target goal for voluntary conservation.
After the meeting, Duerig said she is asking customers to reduce water use at least 20 percent, a goal she will revisit as the state gets a firmer idea of supplies.
Water board member Angela Ramirez Holmes said she thinks the board should have stepped up and made the call for a 20 percent voluntary savings.
"I prefer it come back to the board as opposed to the general manager making a unilateral decision," Holmes said.
But several board members said they were uncomfortable setting a target that may need to change as supply outlooks become clearer later in the rain season.
Officials noted that it will be up to the Livermore and Pleasanton city councils and the Dublin San Ramon Services District board to decide whether to ration water they get from Zone 7 and sell to local residents.
"We're not going to say you can only have 14 flushes a day," said Sandy Figuers, a Zone 7 water board member.
In the end, the board approved a resolution declaring a local drought emergency, leaving it to the general manager to "establish appropriate levels of conservation."
Meanwhile, the board's emergency declaration will speed up planning and approval to begin drilling two new water wells and building a pipeline to capture and manage more groundwater from the Livermore and Amador valleys.
The first well, called Chain of Lakes number 5, should be ready this summer, delivering 1 million to 2 million gallons per day of groundwater to the district, engineers said
Zone 7 supplies about 40 million gallons of water per day to Livermore, Pleasanton, the Dublin San Ramon Services District, and CalWater-Livermore, a private utility that serves part of Livermore.
One of the two boat docks lies on the dry lakebed of Lake Del Valle on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, in Livermore, Calif. Water levels in the lake near Livermore are near normal for this time of year, but continued dry weather would leave little winter and spring runoff to fill the lake. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)
Last week, state officials informed Zone 7 that its allocations of state water could be reduced to zero this year.
Wednesday's light storm did little to bail the state out of its water jam.
The 20 percent voluntary target for Zone 7 matches what Gov. Jerry Brown urged of all Californians on Jan. 17 when he declared a statewide drought emergency.
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and the Santa Clara Valley Water District have requested 10 percent voluntary cutbacks from their customers.
The East Bay Municipal Utility District Board is scheduled to set a conservation goal on Feb. 11.
Contact Denis Cuff at 925-943-8267. Follow him at Twitter.com/deniscuff.