California is in a drought. On January 17, 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown declared a State of Emergency (http://gov.ca.gov/news.php?id=18368). As part of the declaration, he called upon local urban water suppliers and municipalities to implement their water shortage contingency plans.
San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s Request for a 10% Reduction in Water Use
The Town of Hillsborough purchases its water from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC). On January 28, 2014, as part of its water shortage contingency plan, the SFPUC called for a 10% reduction in water use. On January 31, 2014, the Town of Hillsborough distributed this request to its residents. The SFPUC will continue to assess its water supply and drought conditions to determine what additional actions will need to be taken, if any. Additional actions could include a call for mandatory rationing.
The Town is recommending that residents take immediate action to conserve water. Water conservation now means more water in SFPUC reservoirs later. It is important to note that the Town’s water rationing ordinance (Chapter 13.16.040) is based on a formula that does not consider historical water use. That means that no benefit will be gained later by increasing water use now. Hillsborough’s municipal code can be found at: http://www.hillsborough.net/depts/clerk/municipal_code.asp.
Town of Hillsborough Water Conservation Tips
There are many steps Hillsborough’s residents can take to reduce water use. Following are some of the steps Hillsborough considers most effective.
REDUCE OUTDOOR WATER USE FIRST
Over two-thirds of all water use in Hillsborough is for outdoor water use. Small steps to conserve daily outdoor water use can result in big water savings.
During the winter, plant growth slows while precipitation increases. Property owners sometimes forget to adjust their irrigation accordingly. This often results in overwatering and poor plant health. Hillsborough recommends that you adjust your irrigation controller and install a rain shut off gauge to reduce winter irrigation. Rain shut off gauges can be purchased at most local hardware or irrigation supply store and are fairly easy to install. An experienced irrigation professional can also help you select and install a rain shut off gauge.
Request Your Water Use Report
During the summer, plant growth increases while precipitation decreases. Landscapes require more water, but often too much water is applied. Hillsborough provides free Water Use Reports to its residents to help them gauge and adjust their water use. Hillsborough residents can send an email to the Town requesting a Water Use Report. The email should contain the following information:
Name Hillsborough Address Water Bill Account Number Telephone Number
Please state “Water Use Report Request” in the Subject Line of the email firstname.lastname@example.org. Residents may also call 650-375-7444.
Maintain Your Irrigation System Annually
Irrigation systems develop leaks over time. Sprinkler heads fall out of adjustment and irrigation lines can be inadvertently cut or broken. Irrigation leaks and poorly applied water can add up to surprisingly large amounts of water loss over time. Property owners should adjust their irrigation system and inspect for leaks at least once a year. Inexperienced owners may benefit from consulting with an experienced irrigation professional to do so.
Buy a Smart Irrigation Controller
Is your current irrigation controller a bit of a dinosaur? Consider replacing it with a “smart” irrigation controller. “Smart” controllers vary in sophistication, but in general they monitor actual weather and site conditions to help adjust the amount of irrigation applied to landscape. More information about irrigation controllers is available at your local hardware store or through your landscape contractor.
Cover Your Pool
Pool covers prevent water from evaporating during non-use and can also save lives. Consult a local pool supply company or professional to learn more.
REDUCE INDOOR WATER USE NEXT
Reducing indoor water can also result in big water savings.
Buy Water Efficient Fixtures
Many older homes have inefficient fixtures and appliances. Water faucets and showerheads are relatively inexpensive to replace, can result in big water savings and are readily available at local hardware and plumbing supply stores.
Replace Inefficient Water Using Appliances
Replacing your old, inefficient washing machine or dishwasher is another great way to save water and energy. The Town offers a limited number of washing machine rebatesto its residents each year. Also, be sure your efficient clothes or dishwasher is full before you run it!
Leak Check Your Toilet
Leaking toilets are a notorious and silent water waster. The following website offers tips on how to determine if you have a leaking toilet. LINK. Alternatively, you may want to consider replacing your old, inefficient toilet with a new, high-efficiency toilet. Your local hardware or plumbing supply store will offer a wide range of reasonably priced, highly-efficient toilets to choose from.
Shorten Your Shower
A long, hot shower is a great way to start the day. It is also, unfortunately, a big source of indoor water and energy loss. The average shower uses 2.5 gallon/minute. Shower timers are a great way to help you and your family members shorten up the shower. So are low-flow shower heads. You can purchase both on-line or at most local hardware, plumbing and bath supply stores.
CONSULT ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Check out these helpful water conservation websites: