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By Roz Rogoff

About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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Solving our water woes

Uploaded: Jan 31, 2014
Boni Brewer, Public Information Officer for Zone 7 Water Agency, phoned me a few weeks ago to invite me to a presentation by California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird on the California Water Action Plan.

I was very interested in attending this presentation and appreciated Brewer's letting me know about it. I have been involved in local water issues for almost ten years. I ran for Director of the Dublin San Ramon Services District in 2004 and again in 2010. I lost both times, but I still follow water issues and have installed a large rainwater collection system at my house.

I wanted to see if the state would provide more support for rainwater collection and home water recycling instead of simply requiring cut backs on residential water use. I was hoping I'd have a chance to bring this up during the question session at the end of Laird's presentation.

The meeting began at 6 pm. Four Directors from DSRSD were there ? Pat Howard, Georgean Vonheader-Leopold, Ed Duarte, and Dawn Benson. Director Rich Halket was absent. DSRSD was one of the sponsors for the presentation, which was held in the Dublin City Council Chambers

Will Doerlich came over to say "Hello." I wondered why Will was there. He was on the Arts Advisory Committee with me for several years and then appointed to the Parks Commission about two years ago. "Why are you here?" I asked. "To pick up Gina's t-shirt." He said.

I gave him a "Read the San Ramon Observer" t-shirt I brought for Editor/Publisher Gina Channell-Allen and asked again, "but why are you here?"

"I'm a Commissioner, don't you remember?" I did remember, but I still didn't get it.

I saw Planning Commissioner, Donna Kerger, sitting a few rows away, but I thought she was there because she used to work for East Bay MUD.

When San Ramon City Councilmen Phil O'Loane and Harry Sachs came in I realized San Ramon was a co-sponsor of the event.

Daniel Smith, Director of Operations for the city of Pleasanton, MC'd the presentation. Smith introduced two speakers from water agencies followed by John Laird, California Secretary for Natural Resources.

Laird was very informative but rather scary about our current lack of rain. He called it "The worst drought in California History." He compared conditions now with the severe drought of 1975-77.

The snow pack where East Bay MUD gets its water is at 12% of normal for this time of year. That's not 12% under the normal snow pack. That's 12% OF the normal snow pack or 88% UNDER. In the '75-77 drought the snow pack was 22% to 30% of normal.

Northern California is now in the longest dry stretch in "recorded history." Even if it rains through February and March there would still not be enough for a "reliable supply of water."

Laird talked about the need for more water storage. He wasn't talking about my home storage but of large capacity underground storage by water agencies and the state. During the wet years of 2010-11, there was plenty of rain but not enough underground storage to save it for drought years like now.

During the question and answer portion at the end of the presentation I asked about supporting rainwater harvesting systems, like the ones I have, and home gray water recycling like the Aqus Home System.

His answer surprised me. He said there are "complications" with rainwater capture and I was lucky to live where I live. In some parts of California "water rights" are owned, and water cannot be saved by a homeowner.

I had not thought about "water rights," which I consider to be water wrongs. I am absolutely against any person or company owning someone else's water.

This has become a big issue now in Maine where Nestle has tapped underground springs to bottle and sell the water, depleting neighboring landowner's wells.

I'm not going to try to summarize everything Secretary Laird said. The meeting was broadcast live on Community TV channel 29. Laird said it would be rebroadcast at 4 pm on Friday, January 31st. It will also be available as video on demand on the TV30 Website this Monday. I plan to watch it over again myself, to drink it all in.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Jack, a resident of Downtown,
on Jan 31, 2014 at 11:44 am

When does the level of Shadow Cliffs begin to drop?

Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Jan 31, 2014 at 6:21 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.


Did you check with Zone 7 after you posted the question on Tim Hunt's blog last month? Zone 7 gets all of its water from the Delta and that has been cut off by the state.

I asked Sue Stephenson at DSRSD about using water from Shadow Cliffs but she didn't have an answer. Awhile back Bert Michalczyk, Head of DSRSD, told me DSRSD has underground water storage in the Fresno area. I'm not sure how much they have, or if Shadow Cliffs is another source water agencies here can tap into.


Posted by Tim, a resident of another community,
on Feb 1, 2014 at 9:59 am

Thanks for the info! Where on the TV 30 site will the video be posted? I'll be tuning in too.

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Feb 1, 2014 at 7:13 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.


The video is on TV30 now. There's a link to it on the main page. It is also being replayed on Channel 29. Here's a link to the TV29 weekly schedule.

Web Link


Posted by First Time Reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Feb 4, 2014 at 1:44 pm

Can someone tell me the difference between a blogger and a troll? Thanks.

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Feb 4, 2014 at 2:28 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

First Time Reader,

A blogger writes under his or her own name and tries to support his/her opinions with facts, and publishes his/her blogs regularly so readers can develop a sense of who they are and where they stand on issues.

A troll is someone who uses a phony name or several of them, attacks the facts and opinions of others, and tries to stir up the blogger and his/her readers (usually like a bratty 12 year old).

So far there are no trolls here, but you will find plenty of examples on some of the other blogs.


Posted by First time reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Feb 4, 2014 at 2:41 pm

I see, so then when you use different names on your own blogs and the blogs of others, Roz/San Ramon Observer/moan/etc., then you are trolling, yes? And inasmuch as you and your fellow bloggers do this quite frequently, this makes you a troll, right? Thanks for your carefully thought out remarks, you troll you.

Oh, and you appear to not like any poster who "attacks the fact [claims] and opinions of others," and who attempts to "stir up" bloggers and other readers with provocative claims. Why, beyond the obvious that you don't have argumentative/intellectual skill to refute such "attacks?" (Beyond, say, implying they are acting like bratty 12 year-olds.) Or is it because, hey, they are trolls, but not like yourself, because you apparently are a different type of troll?

Okay! Thanks for sharing!

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Feb 4, 2014 at 3:21 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

When I write my Blogs, I am a blogger. I'm even paid a small (very small) stipend for my blogs.

When I reply to other articles or blogs, my name, Roz Rogoff sometimes appears or sometimes it is my Nom de blog, "San Ramon Observer," which is in the headline on my blogs.

I'm not a "blogger" when I reply to other blogs or stories. I am, like you, someone replying with an opinion, but my real name, real person is ALWAYS given or easy to find. I have never used any other online name.

Now go back to bashing Gina on the other thread. I won't feed you here.


Posted by First Time Reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Feb 4, 2014 at 3:56 pm

So, now, you're changing your tune. One can, like yourself, post nasty remarks and not be a troll, because -- you say, at least -- you use your real name, which apparently makes nasty or stupid remarks okay, and non-troll-like. So, on your shifting definition, all posters who don't use their real names are trolls, but you're not a troll because -- you claim, at least -- that you "never" use another name (other than the ones you've previously posted under). Okay, it's good to know how you think of the majority of posters on these threads.

I gotta tell you, though, your nasty little swipe about bashing of Gina indicates a certain intellectual feebleness on your part. That someone like myself cannot criticize a newspaper without being charged with bashing its owner on a personal level is as unfortunate as it is inaccurate. I don't know your boss. I have expressed concerns and criticisms regarding her newspapers' practices and her own expressed ideas as to what counts as objectivity. Bashing? That's your rather feeble view of it.

Perhaps your inability to distinguish between a criticism directed at an institution, on the one hand, and "bashing" of a person, on the other, comes from being a narcissistic blogger? Just asking.

Posted by Daveg, a resident of Birdland,
on Feb 6, 2014 at 9:23 am

Daveg is a registered user.

To "First Time Reader"; You aptly fit the definition of a "troll".
Raising the question regarding blogger as opposed to a troll on this posting added nothing of value to the original posting. I think Roz was more than polite to one who's only purpose appears to see their (worthless) comments in print.

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Feb 6, 2014 at 10:19 am

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

Thank you Daveg,

I apologize to my readers that this thread on a very important subject was sullied by a troll. I shall try not to feed them in the future.


Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Feb 6, 2014 at 3:51 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

I just updated my blog on The Water Cycle from 2011. I fixed all of the links to external sources and added a little more on why understanding the Water Cycle is important to Climate Change. I hope some of you will read it and comment on it. Web Link


Posted by Pedal Power, a resident of Danville,
on Feb 6, 2014 at 10:09 pm

Dear Roz: Many thanks for paying attention to what is going on and posting it, under whichever name you chose, to keep the rest of us informed. On water, I'd love to see them putting more reservoirs in high places, or wherever there is a decent catchment area and topography that lends itself to a dam. I don't see the problem with dedicating a limited number of valleys to such an enterprise when it will bolster the water supply to so many more and, for the most part, the wildlife can and will adapt.

Posted by San Ramon Oberver, a resident of San Ramon,
on Feb 7, 2014 at 12:48 am

San Ramon Oberver is a registered user.

Thank you Pedal Power. NBC Bay Area News had a story on tonight about rainwater collection systems in new buildings in San Francisco. Web Link

We've come a long way from outlawing rainwater capture in California less than 10 years ago to incorporating these systems into new construction now.


Posted by Yosemite Sam , a resident of another community,
on Feb 7, 2014 at 7:36 am

I'm sorry pedal power, but your dismissive shrug of "wildlife can and will adapt" puts the shoe on the wrong hoof. It is we who need to adapt our ridiculously wasteful practices. Beleaguered wildlife, so necessary to our survival in the great circle, already has to endure enough problems from our short-sighted miss-adaptations.

Your thinking on both dams and wildlife is early 20th century, when the Army Corps built the dams that exist -- in all the best places -- well, except my Yosemite Valley -- but they had a plan for that, too! We've come a long way since then, baby -- try to keep up. "Cadillac Desert" by Marc Reisner would be an excellent place to start. It's generally considered one of the great books of the last century, but at least it dates from the latter half. Then you can move on to Edward Abbey ...

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