Water use in June down dramatically for local communities


Water customers in Woodside, Portola Valley and Atherton cut water use by 47 percent and more in June when measured against consumption in June 2013, according to numbers released by the towns.

The California Water Service Company's Bear Gulch District, which includes these communities and parts of Menlo Park and Redwood City, has been ordered by the state to cut water use by 36 percent from 2013 levels. That mandate went into effect in June.

Portola Valley customers led the way in the Bear Gulch District, reducing usage by 52 percent, or 37.4 million gallons, compared with June 2013.

Woodside customers reduced their consumption by 51 percent, using 55.3 million gallons less than in 2013.

Atherton customers used 76.7 million gallons less than in June 2013, a savings of 47 percent.

In an earlier report not as current as those for Atherton, Woodside and Portola Valley, Cal Water said that Menlo Park customers in the Bear Gulch District reduced their use by 59.3 million gallons, a 39 percent drop.

The Menlo Park Municipal Water District, which has been ordered by the state to cut water use by 16 percent from 2013 levels, purchased about 78 million gallons of water from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission in June, down about 46 percent from June 2013 purchases, according to Pam Lowe, senior civil engineer with the city of Menlo Park.

In Menlo Park, the municipal water district serves Sharon Heights, the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, the Willow Road corridor, Belle Haven and the M2 industrial zone.

As a whole, recently released data shows that the Bear Gulch District lowered consumption in June by about 41 percent from 2013 levels, according to district Manager Dawn Smithson.

The statewide goal is a 25 percent reduction over the nine-month period between June 1, 2015, and Feb. 28, 2016.

For May, the State Water Resources Control Board reported a statewide drop in consumption of 29 percent. Numbers for June are not expected until late July, water control board spokesman George Kostyrko said.

Relative temperatures

Temperature levels can have a significant impact on water use, since water evaporates more quickly as temperatures rise. Local temperatures in June were not significantly different from those in June 2013. The mean temperature in Menlo Park was 68 in June 2013 and 67 this year, according to data from Weather Underground.

Native trees, such as valley oaks and coast live oaks, are adept at accumulating rainwater and using it throughout the year, said Kevin Kielty, an arborist based in San Mateo. "They're doing quite well," he said of the area's oak trees.

Not so for non-natives such as pine, birch and magnolia. Pines have the bark beetle to contend with along with the drought, and birches and magnolias depend on water used to irrigate lawns, he said.

Peninsula redwoods are also struggling because they're out of their native foggy habitat on the coast, he said. "(Redwoods) require a lot of surface water," Mr. Keilty said. "They should be getting fog-belt rain every single day."

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2 people like this
Posted by Patricia Arthur
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Jul 20, 2015 at 12:24 pm

I hired Raindance a company that uses reclaimed water from the Palo Alto recycled plant and delivers it to me once a week(more if you require) which is how I water my lawn instead of sprinklers.

7 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jul 20, 2015 at 4:19 pm

pogo is a registered user.

"...Woodside, Portola Valley and Atherton cut water use by 47 percent and more"

We weren't even a full month into the conservation effort when posters slammed the people of Woodside, Portola Valley and Atherton for being selfish, rich and entitled (just a few of the adjectives I recall). Perhaps they could note the conservation efforts demonstrated by our citizens and that EXCEEDED the target numbers.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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