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Palo Alto adopts water-use restrictions

Original post made on Aug 5, 2014

With drought conditions continuing to plague the state, Palo Alto officials swiftly passed a resolution Monday restricting the use of potable water in fountains and on driveways and sidewalks.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, August 5, 2014, 4:14 PM

Comments (19)

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Posted by Geoff Ball
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 5, 2014 at 9:59 pm

I'd like to see Palo Alto explain or limit it use of irrigation water on city parks. Is it reclaimed water or is it potable water. If Potable, I'd like to see it ended or dramatically reduced. Nothing conveys the criticality of the water drought quite so clearly as turning off the sprinklers in the parks.


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Posted by The Apartmentzilla ate my trees
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 6, 2014 at 12:00 am

I'd like to see a moratorium on new development until we can develop policies to take into account water and the fact that we live in an arid region with period drought.

If this really is an emergency, the governor should do it. It's been done in other states for the same reason.


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Posted by Rational
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 6, 2014 at 5:59 am

And the restrictions specifically are ... ?


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 6, 2014 at 7:17 am

And the restrictions specifically are ... stated in the first paragraph of this article?

Actually yes, there was more, which I can't recall exactly, but regarded hose use without a shut-off valve at the handle, and also hours (10-6?) when landscape watering would be banned unless drip irrigation, and probably other things in the fine print. More importantly, I think there was something about hiring several enforcers, but that may have been county rather than city. Hope someone knowledgeable chimes in.


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Posted by Midtown
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 6, 2014 at 9:42 am

Does that mean it will still be legal to pump 8 million gallons of good water down the drain to build a house basement? I bet all these restrictions do not add up to one basement in water use.


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Posted by Old Palo Alto Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 6, 2014 at 10:28 am

Somebody should tell this to Survey Monkey. Last night at 7:30 somebody was on the Alma side of their building power-washing the sidewalk.


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Posted by Midtowner
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Aug 6, 2014 at 10:45 am

Yes, I would like to chime in with the person asking about all the water wasted when millions of gallons of water are pumped out while basements are being built. I was also told by a ranger at Foothills park that the lake there is full because of city water being pumped in, when I wondered out loud why Boronda lake was full while the pond at Arastradero was dry.


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Posted by JOSmith
a resident of Monroe Park
on Aug 6, 2014 at 10:58 am

JOSmith is a registered user.

Water supplies should be expanded to meet the demand. We are close to the Bay, so desalinated water is cheap for us. Instead of making it illegal to use extra water, why not simply charge extra for it?


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Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside
on Aug 6, 2014 at 11:27 am

JOSmith, you have the right idea, to use the price system to balance supply and demand for water, raising prices when needed in a drought, and letting each person decide for themselves how best to use water given the price demanded.

However, this idea is far too simple for California and especially the Bay Area, so expect to see an army of busybodies and ninnies dictating how people should use water, as though there was an efficient and universal way to decide what constitutes "waste".


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 6, 2014 at 11:30 am

The power washers I've seen downtown are associated with a vehicle or trailer that has its own water reservoir, which may be filled with recycled or non-potable water.

I'd like to hear more about the effluent of our waste water treatment plant and its suitability for irrigation or other uses. How much is currently being recycled? How far has the purple-pipe network progressed?


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Posted by Waterless
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 6, 2014 at 11:31 am

Leave your house for a year or two and go to a state where there is lots of water...maybe West Virginia.


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Posted by Gethin
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 6, 2014 at 1:23 pm

Gethin is a registered user.

The comment on water usage at parks is well taken. As an example at Seale park there is water running down the street gutters while the park spray systems are on.


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Posted by Broken Water Line
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 6, 2014 at 1:24 pm

There was a broken water line along Greer Park yesterday, running off of Bayshore. It was flooding Colorado before someone from the city got there to turn it off- at least 20 minutes from the time I called. So sad and such a waste.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 6, 2014 at 1:26 pm

From city of Palo Alto, Foothills Park webpage --

"Help Keep Boronda Lake Full and Healthy!
It costs $50,000 a year to keep Boronda Lake full in the Summer.
You can help!"

Then there's a "Donate" button. Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or PayPal.


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Posted by LaNell Mimmack
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 6, 2014 at 1:39 pm

I walk past Johnson Park every morning. It is being watered along with the sidewalk. Please set an example by having the city conserve water.


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Posted by ChrisC
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 6, 2014 at 2:22 pm

ChrisC is a registered user.

Can we report people who are wasting water? On my morning walk I see one house where the water runoff from watering on the sidewalks and gutter. Of course it could be an accident, but if it's every day, then it's not good.


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Posted by Joe Giraffe
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 6, 2014 at 2:39 pm

Regarding ground water pumped out when a basement is being constructed, the city is testing a way to reuse that water:
Web Link


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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 6, 2014 at 5:17 pm

@ Joe Giraffe. Thanks for the info. Finally, some reuse of a fraction of the average 6-8 million gallons of water pumped out for a residential basement. Doesn't address the impact on surrounding vegetation, etc.


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Posted by Water saver
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 8, 2014 at 7:09 am

Our parks are watered with recycled water not Hetch Hetchy!!!!


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