While much of the state faces severe water use reductions, customers of the Menlo Park Municipal Water District may be largely off the hook.
The State Water Resources Control Board is proposing that the district reduce water use by 16 percent from 2013 levels. But the district has already achieved a 27 percent reduction, according to state data.
While the number is accurate, the 27 percent reduction is based on the amount the district purchased from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, said Public Works Director Jesse Quirion. The district's actual sales numbers show a 12 percent reduction from 2013 levels, he said.
The city plans to implement further water-use restrictions and the staff will recommend to the council that the city seek to exceed the mandated reduction, Mr. Quirion said.
The municipal water district serves only part of Menlo Park, but a large part: Sharon Heights, the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, the Horse Park in Woodside, the Willow Road corridor, and homes and businesses in Belle Haven and the M2 industrial zone.
Much of the rest of Menlo Park receives water from the private California Water Service Company and is in the Bear Gulch District. That district is facing mandatory cuts of 36 percent from 2013 levels. It has already reduced use by 11 percent, according to state data.
Click here for a map showing the territories of the city's water suppliers.
The reason for the steeper mandatory cuts is that the Bear Gulch District contains many heavy water users, including residents of large lots in Portola Valley, Woodside and Atherton. The district covers those three towns plus parts of Menlo Park and Redwood City.
The size of the proposed mandatory cuts are based on how much water was used by residential customers in a district during July, August and September of 2014. In the Menlo Park Municipal Water District, the rate was 88.6 gallons per person per day. That put it in the group of water suppliers that must cut use by 16 percent, if current proposals are adopted.
In the Bear Gulch District, the rate was much higher: 252.5 gallons per person per day, putting it in the highest tier of water users in the state, and requiring a 36 percent reduction.
How the percentage reductions will be achieved and whether Menlo Park residents in the Bear Gulch District will face tougher standards than their neighbors have yet to be determined.
Cal Water will disclose data for a town or city, but only when requested by an official from the local government.
Some local officials in the Bear Gulch District communities asked for 2013 data and got it: In Portola Valley, the average was 305 gallons per person per day; in Woodside, 421 gallons; and in Atherton, 480 gallons, according to Cal Water.
During that same year, according to data from the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency, the Bay Area average was 79 gallons per person per day. The agency's records show an average of 99 gallons per person per day for residents of the Menlo Park municipal district.