Water control urgedBy Michelle Durand
Mid-Peninsula Water District customers are asked to voluntarily begin conserving at least 10 percent beginning immediately or risk mandatory rationing throughout the summer.
The meager Sierra snow pack left California with its driest winter since the state's last drought from 1987 to 1992, leaving fire officials fearful dry conditions will lead to wildfires like those hitting Southern California currently. It also has water districts worried about a limited supply.
The MPWD, which supplies water to approximately 28,000 people in Belmont and parts of the surrounding area, is reacting similarly to others on the Peninsula who purchase water from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, said office manager Cathy Abou-Remeleh.
In April, the SFPUC began urging the cutback of water by its 2.4 residential million users and its wholesale district customers are now following suit.
The voluntary rationing calls for 10 percent effective immediately. The SFPUC has not given a deadline by which the conservation must be met or be replaced by mandatory restrictions, Abou-Remeleh said.
"The last we heard is all Peninsula agencies are being asked to meet the voluntary rationing. Hopefully, they all do and we can muddle through this," Abou-Remeleh said.
As of May 1, when state hydrologists finished the final snow survey of the year, the snow pack was 29 percent of average. Water experts said it is too early to declare a drought but supplies kicked into action to manage what is available.
Local reservoirs are vulnerable with Crystal Springs in San Mateo County at only 85 percent of capacity, according to the SFPUC.
The voluntary ration announcement was met with approval by the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency which represents the SFPUC's 27 wholesale customers in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Alameda counties.
The call is "timely and prudent," said BAWSCA General Manager Art Jensen.
Since the SFPUC request, water districts throughout the Peninsula have had different responses. Some in the South Bay announced no plans to cut back while others like the MPWD began asking customers to comply via bill inserts and newspaper ads.
The district's Web site also includes a list of conservation hints including only running full dishwasher and washing machine loads, turning off running water while brushing one's teeth, not hosing down driveways and sidewalks and using drip irrigation systems for plants and gardens.
Copyright ©2007 San Mateo Daily Journal. Published 05/10/2007.