June Martinez Mayor's Message
Jun 01, 2015 09:54PM
● By Jennifer Neys
by Rob Schroder, Martinez Mayor
We are facing a fourth consecutive dry year and our reservoirs are as low as they have been since the drought of 1986 to 1991. In 2013 California received less precipitation than any year since it became a state in 1850. All indications are that it will take years to recover from this dry spell and refill our storage systems. It is time that all of us accept the fact that California is a desert and we must capture the rainfall in wet years and adjust how we use water in our personal and business lives. Where there is no water there is no economy, no jobs, and no life.
The situation is so dire that the governor declared a state of emergency and mandated a 25% statewide reduction in water use on April 1. This unprecedented action drives home the severity of the drought and the need for all of us to cut wasteful habits and treat water as a precious commodity.
Both the Contra Costa Water District (CCWD) and the city water system serve the City of Martinez. The city system purchases raw water from CCWD, treats it at the city water treatment facility, and pumps it to a number of hilltop reservoirs. The drinking water is then delivered to over 10,000 customers located in the western half of the city, as well as the areas of Vine Hill and Alhambra Valley.
CCWD recently adopted a 25% Drought Management Plan, and the city recently declared its intent to take the same action at a public hearing to be held on July 1. Under the mandate by the governor, we must reduce water usage by 25% compared to 2013 usage or be subject to fines of $10,000 per day for each day in violation of the regulations. The city water system and many city residents and businesses are subject to the CCWD proposed restrictions and pricing adjustments. It is important that we treat all residents equally. The Martinez City Council will likely adopt a conservation program that parallels CCWD’s program.
The new conservation regulations will include the following prohibitions:
· Using potable water to wash sidewalks, patios and driveways
· Allowing runoff when irrigating with potable water
· Using hoses without automatic shutoff nozzles to wash cars
· Using potable water in a decorative water feature with no recirculation
· Irrigating outdoors more than twice per week, during daylight hours, and within 48 hours following measurable precipitation
Martinez Public Works crews have already reduced watering of landscaping to twice a week and cut back watering times by 25%. More efficient sprinkler heads are replacing old and wasteful systems, and we are using large amounts of recycled water to irrigate medians and parks. In fact, residents that are serviced by the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District (CCCSD) can obtain up to 300 gallons a day of recycled water for personal use.
My family is trying to do our part as well by installing shut-off valves on all showerheads and cutting
back outdoor watering to twice a week (for only 5 minutes per station). We also have 5
gallon buckets in each shower to catch running water while waiting for it to turn warm. That water is used to irrigate the garden and potted plants.
For more information on the emergency water regulations and tips on how to conserve our precious
water resources, visit the State Water Board’s website at: