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water wasted?

Original post made by Jim, Midtown, on Mar 2, 2008

How is it okay to drain groundwater from a home construction site for months or years? Why would the city allow lowering the water table?

Comments (7)

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Posted by T
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 2, 2008 at 5:51 pm

Yes, we've wondered the same thing too. Whenever a new home with basement or underground parking garage is constructed in our neighborhood, large water hoses are set up to divert water into nearby storm drains. This drainage process takes months and months and months. We've always wondered why the city of Palo Alto okays this, since we thought we'd heard basements would no longer be allowed in our area -- many of the existing basements filled during the flood, plus we have a high water table in general. In the end we concluded that our information must simply be out of date because clearly the city is aware of all these construction projects and their associated drainage works. So I hope someone fills you in on the city's perspective. It will be educational.

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Posted by Water Conscious Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 2, 2008 at 9:30 pm

I am also concerned about this issue, and I have spent many months researching this policy and the effects it has had on our environment and on our community.

I am preparing a formal letter and petition to our city regarding this policy.

If you would like more information about the effects of using dewatering systems in residential construction and would be interested in signing this petition, please email me at:

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Posted by Water Conscious Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 2, 2008 at 11:23 pm

To clarify the above, I am preparing a formal letter and a survey to present to council regarding our city allowing this practice.

You will be able to address specific concerns and add remarks on this form.

I appreciate your concern about our community, our water resources, and the environment.

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Posted by K F
a resident of Ventura
on Mar 3, 2008 at 11:59 am

Also as the fresh water table retreats, salt water from the bay can replace it. This and the lower water table has a dramatic effect on street trees. I have seen this on Newell where the silver maples do not look well at all.

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Posted by Carrie
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 6, 2008 at 10:51 pm

Great to see this problem finally in print. I have been wondering for years why no one is talking about this very, very serious issue. It is going to impact the city deeply in the coming years, particulary problematic with our trees. Why isn't city council all over this?!?

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Posted by Water Conscious Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 6, 2008 at 11:05 pm


Please send me an email at, and I will arrange for you to sign our survey. There are many people who find this disconcerting, for many reasons. Tree impacts, and protection of our fresh water aquifers, among other things.

If you do not wish to participate in signing the survey, please send an email to our council members at:

Or you may send a letter to:

City of Palo Alto, Office of the City Clerk
250 Hamilton Ave.
Palo Alto, CA 94301

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Posted by Sarah
a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 7, 2008 at 5:48 pm

Hey, PA Weekly reporters!! Could you please look into this issue? Seems important. There's currently draining going on at a home construction site at the corner of Bryant and Washington.

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