Water District Keeps Reduction Target

Posted on January 28, 2017 by  
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The Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors voted Jan. 24 to continue its call for water-use reductions of 20 percent compared with 2013 water-consumption levels.

In 2016, Santa Clara County used 28 percent less water than in 2013. While statewide and local conditions have improved significantly, the board members emphasized that dry conditions could return, and the community’s water savings achievements should be continued.

At its Tuesday meeting, after the Town Crier’s press deadline, board members planned to issue a new resolution for a continued limit on watering ornamental landscapes to no more than three days per week. Officials said the district would drop its prior call for retail water agencies, local municipalities and Santa Clara County to implement mandatory measures, as needed, to achieve the 20 percent water-use reduction target.

The water district does not have the authority to enforce mandatory water-use restrictions on the customers of each local water provider. Since 2014, the board’s resolutions have instead requested that water providers implement their own mandatory water restrictions to reach the target. By dropping the “mandatory” language now, board members expect that local water providers will not use drought surcharges or penalties to motivate customers to meet the 20 percent goal.

Certain activities that waste potable water are permanently prohibited by the State Water Resources Control Board, including hosing off sidewalks, driveways and other hardscapes; washing automobiles with hoses not equipped with a shut-off nozzle; using nonrecirculated water in a fountain or other decorative water feature; watering lawns in a manner that causes runoff or within 48 hours after measurable precipitation; and irrigating ornamental turf on public street medians.


Drought Takes Toll On Golf Courses

Posted on July 29, 2015 by  
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Los Altos Golf & Country ClubResidents who’ve watched their lawns turn brown during the drought will soon have company on the local links.

Los Altos Golf & Country Club and Shoreline Golf Links in Mountain View recently turned off sprinklers to conserve water in light of statewide mandates and recommendations from the county.

The country club is no longer watering the first 100 yards of each hole (from the tee), along with areas on the course’s perimeter and rough.

Head golf pro Brian Inkster said club officials are using July as a trial run for water-reducing strategies months in the making – including less-thirsty alternatives to grass, like woodchips – to meet a 30 percent reduction by Aug. 1.

“Putting water in our drinking faucets is more important than watering our golf courses,” Inkster said. “That’s just the sacrifice we have to do. Everyone has to do their part.”

This means gameplay may get a little rougher for golfers unaccustomed to making the fairway.

“If you hit the fairway, you should be on grass. If you hit the green, you should be on grass,” Inkster said. “For those who aren’t hitting the fairways, it’ll be a little more challenging.”

Shoreline Golf CourseShoreline – a public course managed by TouchStone Golf – has complied with restrictions from the city of Mountain View, according to James Birchall, general manager of the course. He added that Shoreline has exceeded state minimums.

The greenskeepers have turned off sprinklers, Birchall said, and the course uses some recycled water. They continue to irrigate certain areas to prevent cracks in the “cap” that Birchall said covers the landfill the course rests on.

While many private properties comply with water-use guidelines and tiered pricing from water retailers such as Cal Water, Los Altos Golf & Country Club faces different restrictions from the Santa Clara Valley Water District because its water comes from private, on-site wells. However, the club still faces state mandates protecting groundwater reserves that are extremely low, according to Jerry De La Piedra, the district’s water supply planning and conservation manager. The district has no authority to increase prices or impose fines for overuse, though, De La Piedra said.

The state has imposed county-specific mandates to meet an overall 25 percent reduction in potable water use from 2013 levels for the current year.

“The state level is the minimum that needs to be reached, but locally we need to go above and beyond that,” De La Piedra said. “Even if we have a good rainfall year, it’ll take multiple years to recover. It’s going to take a while to get back to normal.”

De La Piedra added that his staff is looking to create a committee of golf course superintendents that will meet on a regular basis to discuss ways to adapt to the restrictions and further save water.