Drought Emergency Continues (New Restrictions)
With California in the midst of an historic drought, and snow levels at the lowest level ever recorded, the Sunnyvale City Council on May 12th adopted a resolution declaring a 30 percent water reduction target through June 30, 2016. The Council expressed concern about continually depleting the groundwater supply and the threat of land subsidence and took the following actions:
Note: Hand watering with a hose or irrigating with a drip system are allowed on any day and time (except within 48 hours of rainfall).
- Instituted a two-day-per-week sprinkler watering schedule:
- Odd-numbered addresses may water on Mondays and Thursdays.
- Even-numbered addresses may water on Tuesdays and Fridays.
- Prohibited any type of outside irrigation (including hand watering or drip irrigation) within 48 hours of rainfall.
- Prohibited sprinkler system irrigation between 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. on any day (when daylight savings time is in effect).
- Required hotels to offer patrons the option of not laundering linens on a daily basis.
The Council also approved the following enforcement actions:
- Imposed a $250 citation for a third violation of water waste prohibitions.
- Imposed a $500 citation thereafter for additional violations.
The Council also approved investment in the following programs:
- A $1 per square foot subsidy for the replacement of turf with drought resistant landscape to be combined with an existing $2 per square foot subsidy provided by the Santa Clara Valley Water District.
- A waiver of $121 for permits for gray water systems that reuse water from laundry and sinks for outside irrigation.
These actions are all in addition to the existing prohibitions previously passed by Council which include:
- Serving water in restaurants except upon request
- The application of potable water to outdoor landscapes in a manner that causes runoff.
- The application of potable water to driveways and sidewalks
- The use of potable water in a fountain or other decorative water features unless the water is part of a recirculating system
- Landscape irrigation between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
- Using a hose without a positive shutoff valve to wash cars, buses, boats, or trailers
- Water waste due to broken or defective plumbing, sprinkler, watering, or irrigation systems.
Access the relevant Municipal Code.
**How to Read Your Water Meter**
Residential Gray Water Clothes Washer Systems
Rain Barrel Rebate Program
Starting October 6, 2014 the City of Sunnyvale in partnership with the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency started offering rebates to users of rain barrels as part of a program encouraging residents to conserve drinking water and use other sources for landscaping.
Sunnyvale will offer $50 rebates per barrel up to two barrels per household or four for commercial properties. Barrels must be purchased between now and June 30, 2016, and maintained for at least three years after receipt of the rebate.
Owners will be responsible for installing the barrels but will be given guidelines as part of the rebate application package. Sunnyvale will be ensuring the barrels have screening to prevent mosquito breeding in the standing water.
Why Do We Need To Ration Water Now?
Water supply background: The City of Sunnyvale receives its potable water supply from 3 different sources: local groundwater, imported Sacramento Delta water from the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD), and Hetch Hetchy water from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC).
- In recent years California has faced water shortages due to several dry years.
- In a semi-arid region like California, water conservation needs to become a way of life and not just something we think about only in times of drought. To help achieve the goal of continued reliable supply of quality water today and in the future, it is important that we use water wisely every single day.
- In recent years water deliveries from the Sacramento Delta have been reduced by court orders in an effort to protect declining fish species.
- The Santa Clara Valley Water District board of directors has called for 20 percent mandatory conservation and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has called for 10 percent voluntary conservation.
How Can I Conserve Water?
Here are some simple suggestions to help you get started.The Environmental Protection Agency reports that the average American uses 90 gallons of water a day. Faced now with a dwindling snowpack and lack of rain, city leaders and officials from the Santa Clara Valley Water District are hoping to change the way residents use water. Saving water starts at home, and although voluntary, it's something we all can practice. Without much inconvenience, practicing water conservation can help save hundreds, even thousands of gallons per month. Try to do one thing each day to save water. Don’t worry if the savings are minimal. Every drop counts and every person can make a difference. Even children can help. Ensure that your children are aware of the need to conserve water.