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Wednesday: Portola Valley council looks at skateboarding and ideas to conserve water

 

Portola Valley has plenty of asphalt in town, but little that works for safe skateboarding. The town could probably stand to have more drought tolerant native plants and fewer of those that are native to wetter climates.

A skateboard ramp and water conservation are on the agenda for discussion and/or action for the Town Council meeting, which begins at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26, in the Historic Schoolhouse at 765 Portola Road.

The idea for a skateboard ramp, almost a year old now, could take a big step forward if the council approves a year-long trial. The experimental quarter-pipe ramp would be a temporary installation at one end of the all-sport court at Town Center.

The expense of about $4,700 would be split, according to a staff report. The town would spend $2,200 on the design of the ramp and adjustments to the height of basketball hoops; the $2,500 needed for the ramp itself would come from donor contributions raised, in part, by the Parks and Recreation Committee.

Above-average water use, way above

The council will consider forming task forces to encourage local water and energy conservation. A tentative proposal for water conservation would include a community forum, a list of "high-impact actions" that residents and businesses could take to conserve water, and ideas as to what the town could do to encourage water conservation.

Brandi de Garmeaux, the town's sustainability and special projects manager, recently determined that Portola Valley residents in 2011-12 used 262 percent more than the Bay Area average of 78 gallons per person per day. Residential water use in 2010-11 in Portola Valley, already high at 251 gallons per person per day, rose 13 percent in 2012 to 283 gallons, Ms. de Garmeaux said, citing figures obtained from the California Water Service Company.

The Almanac asked for comparable figures for Atherton, Woodside and the area of Menlo Park served by Cal Water, but the company said it could not provide the numbers.

"We track water use district-wide only and not by individual cities," Cal Water spokesman Anthony Carrasco told the Almanac in an email. "We are able to provide the Town of Portola Valley with aggregated sales figures once per year due to customized programming that was built specifically for the town, so unfortunately, the data that Portola Valley has is not available for the other towns."

Cal Water could not confirm Ms. de Garmeaux's figures, Mr. Carrasco added.

The effort to encourage people to conserve energy could be modeled on the town's Backyard Habitat program, the staff reports says. Backyard Habitat awards recognition to residents whose properties are welcoming to native species of plants and animals.

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