Menlo Park plans for tighter water restrictions

With more than half of California experiencing "extreme drought," Menlo Park's greenery will look thirstier than ever starting Sept. 1, once the state gives the expected final approval to mandated water restrictions.

The new restrictions would forbid washing hard surfaces such as sidewalks; watering outdoor landscapes to the extent that runoff occurs; hosing off vehicles unless the hose has an automatic shut-off nozzle; and using potable water in fountains unless the water is recirculated.

Urban water agencies would also have to implement water shortage contingency plans, according to the state water board. Menlo Park receives water from the California Water Services Company and the Menlo Park Municipal Water District.

The city of Menlo Park has already asked residents to voluntarily reduce water use by 10 percent, and is now preparing for the mandated restrictions and then some, said interim Public Works Director Jesse Quirion.

"We anticipate incorporating all of the state's water restrictions at a minimum and we may consider a few additional water restrictions to continue doing our part in Menlo Park," Mr. Quirion said.

The changes are also affecting city-owned properties. As some observers noted, the sprinklers at the Civic Center often leave puddles on the sidewalks -- something Mr. Quirion said has now been addressed by reducing watering schedules and the amount of water used.

Violations of the water restrictions will carry stiff penalties -- up to $500 per day for residents, and up to $10,000 per day for water agencies.

"It is our understanding that each city will be responsible for the resident enforcement, but we have not yet confirmed what the penalty structure is," Mr. Quirion said.

The new reduction plan will be presented to the City Council on Aug. 19 to bring everyone up to date, but its approval is not required to enact the changes.


Like this comment
Posted by Enough
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 4, 2014 at 10:03 am

So we are (again) being asked to conserve water (because there is not enough of it). And we will be punished if we use our water in ways not compliant with the coming restrictions. Yet certain entities are pushing to cram more and more development into Menlo Park. How on earth is that going to work? Here's an idea: All new buildings will not be allowed to flush any toilets nor run water in sinks to wash hands. Oh, and absolutely no drinking of any water in the new buildings. For every new High Density development that gets added to the land in Menlo Park, there is more water use. Can't wait to see the crazy rationalizations that will come from those people advocating for more and more over-development.

Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 4, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Here's a better idea. Demand agriculture, who uses 80% of the state's water, be more conservative in how it uses it for irrigation. No more flood irrigation of orchards where thousands of acre feet of water are lost to evaporation. No more growing crops such as rice which again rely on flooded fields which lose water to evaporation. Start requiring farmers to conserve water. I think you will find if these things were implemented we wouldn't be having a water shortage.

Like this comment
Posted by Elizabeth
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 12, 2014 at 8:05 am

Yes, and while we are at it Menlo Park, why not install low-flow toilets in your public facilities? Library, Police station, City Hall, Council Chambers...

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