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Water Quality Water Reliability Flood Protection

In This Issue:

Zone 7 Receives Modest Increase in State Water Project Allocation but Mandatory Conservation Remains

State Water Project contractors received news last week that the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) will be increasing the 2022 allocation of water to 15 percent, up from the initial zero percent allocation announced in December.
 
For Zone 7, the Tri-Valley’s water wholesaler, this provides much needed relief after the two driest years combined on record. Approximately 70% of the Tri-Valley’s water is purchased and imported through the State Water Project (SWP). In 2021, the Agency only received 5 percent of its allocation and has been relying heavily on the groundwater basin, which holds the imported water Zone 7 banks there during wet years to sustain the Tri-Valley during the drought.
 
According to DWR the storms that occurred in October and December of last year, allowed for the movement of about 380,000 acre-feet of water into the State Water Project’s share of San Luis Reservoir – located south of the Delta. The water allocation will primarily be based on stored water in San Luis Reservoir.
 
“While this increase in allocation offers some reprieve, it is important to keep our eyes on the ball,” noted General Manager Valerie Pryor. “This does not mean we are out of the severe drought by any means. We’re already seeing dry conditions in January and we don’t know what the rest of the year has in store. Residents of the Tri-Valley must continue to conserve as we proactively plan for a third dry year.”
 
Mandatory 15 percent conservation is still in effect and residents are asked to continue to use water wisely. The Tri-Valley had a tremendous response to calls for mandatory conservation achieving 20, 29 and 16 percent savings in October, November, and December respectively. The Agency thanks the community for heeding those calls. Residents are encouraged to take advantage of water saving rebates and resources available on Zone 7’s website.
 
One of the most impactful ways to save water is to reduce outdoor irrigation, which makes up 60% of household use. When cooler temps prevail, most plants go dormant so irrigation can be dramatically reduced and as little as once per week irrigation is needed.
 
Water restrictions remain in place for now and customers of California Water Service, City of Livermore, City of Pleasanton and Dublin San Ramon Services District should check Zone 7’s drought page at www.zone7water.com/drought for the latest drought information and city-specific water use restrictions. Zone 7 will re-evaluate the need for mandatory conservation as water supply conditions evolve over the coming months.

Tri-Valley Encouraged to Continue Water Conservation Efforts

In December, the Tri-Valley conserved 16% and met the ongoing 15% water conservation goal. Thank you to the Tri-Valley for continuing water-wise habits. Despite heavy early season rains, we are still in a drought. Residents need to continue to conserve both indoors and outdoors.
To help the Tri-Valley meet the 15% water conservation goal in the coming months, here are 5 water saving tips to try:

  1. Turn off outdoor irrigation for rain events and adjust for cooler temps.  
  2. Take shorter showers. Like to sing in the shower? Here are some 5-minute songs for your drought-friendly shower. 
  3. Only run washing machines  and dishwashers with full loads.
  4. Plant low-water or native plants that thrive in our climate.
  5. Thaw frozen food in the refrigerator instead of under running water.

For tips on ways to conserve water and more resources, visit our website at zone7water.com/conserve.

Photo of the Sacramento River taken in August 2021

Zone 7 Takes the Next Step in Sites Project, Investing in Improved Water Reliability for the Tri-Valley 

At the January 19th regular Board meeting, Directors voted unanimously to adopt the Third Amendment to the Sites Reservoir Project, moving forward on the generational opportunity to participate in the construction of a multi-benefit water storage project.

The Agency’s 2019 Water Supply Evaluation Update confirmed the need for new water supplies to maintain Zone 7’s commitment to water reliability. Several projects are in the study or planning phases to determine the best way to achieve the needed supplies. One of these, the Sites Project, was identified as a promising opportunity providing both storage and new supply, adding needed flexibility to Zone 7’s water supply system.

The Board’s action continues Zone 7 participation for three more years as the project is further developed.  Zone 7’s participation will be for 10,000 acre-feet of water per year and Zone 7 will contribute approximately $4 million over the next three years.

Historically, California has relied heavily on snowpack to replenish reservoirs and groundwater aquifers through spring runoff. But as last year demonstrated, this snowpack has become less reliable due to the effects of climate change. Precipitation now comes from extreme weather events that produce significant amounts of stormwater that the existing system is not designed to capture. Through extensive modeling, Sites Reservoir has been specifically designed with future climate conditions in mind to capture water from these storm events.

“The changing climate and hydrology of California keeps reminding us of how needed this project is,” remarked President Ramirez Holmes. “This is a unique opportunity for Zone 7 to secure both storage and new water supply, a truly important investment for our community.”

The 1.5 million acre-foot off-stream reservoir will capture and store storm-related water and excess flood flows from the Sacramento River. Water stored in Sites Reservoir will then be available for use during drier years. Sites Reservoir will be operated to improve water supply resilience to climate change, increasing our statewide water reliability when it’s most needed. Zone 7 is one of 23 participating agencies. The project is anticipated to be fully operational by 2030.

The Sites Reservoir Project helps to achieve local, state, and federal goals for water supply reliability, the environment, the economy, and flood protection, and will provide the following benefits:

  • Reliable dry-year water supply for California communities, farms, and businesses.
  • Improved water quality.
  • Improve the local and regional economy by creating hundreds of construction-related jobs.
  • Environmental water in drier periods for native fish and Pacific Flyway habitat for migratory birds and other native species.
  • Contribute to California’s renewable energy goals.
  • Support flood management and groundwater recharge.
  • Create recreational opportunities for communities.

To learn more about the project visit SitesProject.org

Take Advantage of Zone 7’s Rebate Programs

Customers of Livermore Municipal Water, the city of Pleasanton, and the Dublin San Ramon Services District can ring in the new year by taking advantage of Zone 7’s rebate programs. The rebate programs offered are a weather-based irrigation controller, high-efficiency clothes washer and a water-efficient lawn conversion rebate. Utilizing the rebates helps the community conserve on a regional level and meet the mandatory 15% water conservation goal.

The weather-based irrigation controller rebate covers up to 50% of the customer costs with a maximum rebate of $75 for single-family residences, $100 for multi-family residences, or $3,000 for non-residential properties. Smart irrigation controllers are easy to install and can help you reduce water use, save money and eliminate pollution from unnecessary runoff.

The high-efficiency clothes washer rebate allows customers a rebate of up to $200 for purchasing an approved Energy Star Most Efficient high efficiency (HE) clothes washer. Zone 7 makes it easy by providing a current list of qualifying products for customers to choose from.

The water-efficient lawn conversion rebate program offers customers a maximum rebate of up to 50% of the costs for swapping their thirsty grass lawn for a native garden. A single-family property can receive up to $2,000, while a non-residential or multi-family property can receive up to $6,000.

To learn more about rebate programs such as qualifying products and applications, visit our rebate page.

Customers of California Water Service residing in Livermore can take advantage of similar rebates offered on their rebate page. 

View Rebates

Green Stormwater Infrastructure Planning-level Analysis Released 

The "Green Stormwater Infrastructure Planning-level Analysis for Livermore-Amador Valley" has been completed as part of the EPA-funded "Preparing for the Storm" grant. The Analysis is intended to provide planning-level regional guidance for placement of green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) in Livermore-Amador Valley.  Green stormwater infrastructure provides on-site stormwater collection through green habitat like trees or open space which more readily collects stormwater and contaminants prevent them from concentrating in built stormwater systems. As a result, waterways become less polluted.

“Preparing for the Storm” is an innovative public-private partnership between Zone 7 Water Agency, the San Francisco Estuary Institute, H.T. Harvey & Associates, and the San Francisco Bay Joint Venture, to improve watershed health and resilience in the Alameda Creek watershed.

The analysis also identifies potential locations for green infrastructure and measures the amount of contaminants entering waterways and stormwater runoff volume reduction benefits through the application of GreenPlan-IT, a planning tool developed by the San Francisco Estuary Institute and regional partners. The analysis presented in this report is intended to help enhance stream and watershed resilience, reduce potential flooding events, and improve water quality. 

Read the Report
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Zone 7 Water Agency, 100 North Canyons Parkway,
Livermore, CA 94551  |  925-454-5000
zone7water.com
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Zone 7 Water Agency · 100 North Canyons Parkway · Livermore, CA 94551 · USA

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