PLEASANTON -- Some say the current drought could be the worst ever experienced in California.

"We potentially have the most disastrous drought to hit the Tri-Valley in the history of the Tri-Valley," said Daniel Smith, the city's operations services director.

That means lush green parks may go brown, only the tees at city golf courses will be kept green and residents may have to severely limit outdoor irrigation, he said. Recent spring rains have lulled people into a false sense of security, Smith told city parks and recreation commissioners at their April 10 meeting.

"You can't believe how many people say, 'Wow, we're out of the drought now,' " he said. "As a matter of fact, the outlook is very grim."

Grim certainly describes the presentation Smith made to the commission. An informative slideshow made it clear that residents are in for extreme cuts in water consumption.

"This is a lot worse than people know," he said. "If we don't conserve at all, that means we're 42 percent short of what we need to get through December."

Pleasanton gets 80 percent of its water from the state water project and 20 percent from groundwater. Right now, the state has said the city will get a mere 2 percent of its water allotment. There's a chance the allotment could drop to zero.

"This is truly the first time that we probably will not receive water from the state water project," Smith said.

Residents have been asked to voluntarily reduce water consumption by 20 percent, but usage has actually increased 14 percent in recent months. Water use at city parks, golf courses and buildings has been cut by 20 percent. Residents may face higher water bills and fines if mandatory rationing takes effect, Smith said.

"This is the biggest challenge we face this century," he said. "There's a global water challenge. If we don't change the way we use (water), we are really going to be in trouble."

Visit pleasantonwaterconservation.com or call the city's drought hotline at 925-931-5504 for tips on water conservation.

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