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By Tim Hunt

Pleasanton's water use matches Las Vegas

Uploaded: Jul 31, 2014

Pleasanton water department staffers have received lots of feedback—that's greatly understating it—since the City Council established the policy that every water user had to reduce their consumption by 25 percent year-over-year or face a financial penalty.
The phone rang off the hook—500 calls per day in the first few weeks. Some folks were concerned that if they already were prudent with using water, reducing that by 25 percent could be a real challenge.
For instance, if you are in a home that was built in the last 10 years, you already have low-flow toilets, faucets and shower heads to say nothing of likely much more water efficient washing machines. Those are the easy sweet spots for reduction in older homes—but the water demand is hardened in new, more efficient construction.
That said, Pleasanton's per capita use is simply EMBARASSING. The city has taken huge steps to declare that it is "green"— electric vehicle charging stations, AB 32 Greenhouse gases campaign—yet its per capita water use is equal to that of Las Vegas.
That's right—Sin City in the middle of the desert. Pleasanton's per capita use is 219 gallons per day—exactly the same as Vegas where summer temperatures soar above 100 degrees routinely. Consider that per person (capita) use in Dublin is 120 gallons per day and it is 161 per day in Livermore.
Both Dublin and Livermore have embraced recycling for years, but that's a huge difference between Pleasanton and its neighbor to the north.
For a city that likes to consider itself green, it is both a stark embarrassment and a call for using recycled water. There are a stunning amount of public parks carpeted with lawn that is irrigated with potable water. The city says its water use is down about 50 percent and some of those grass areas are showing brown. Now, just as they have done around City Hall, how about ripping out grass that is only there to be pretty and using native plants that will provide their beauty without taking tons of water.
I am experimenting in my yard and I can say that varieties of Rosemary and Oleander are doing very well with little or no irrigation.