Brentwood Declares Water Shortage Emergency, Adopts Emergency Ordinance

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BRENTWOOD, CA – Brentwood’s City Council took immediate measures to address the drought crisis during their meeting on May 26, calling on the entire community to partner with the City to conserve water.

The City Council announced its intention to launch a major public outreach campaign aimed at reducing water consumption in Brentwood by 35% for residential and non-residential potable water customers, and 40% for irrigation potable water customers, in response to a State mandate requiring major reductions. The water conservation campaign will reach out to the people of Brentwood and help them understand the new realities regarding the State’s water situation, it will explain the recently announced regulations, and it will provide tools for the people of Brentwood to attain compliance.

The City Council’s Urgency Ordinance includes water-use reduction regulations designed to achieve significant savings by helping the community understand the biggest water consumption first. The regulations are focused primarily on outdoor residential landscape irrigation, which is responsible for the bulk of potable water usage. In many homes with large yards, landscape irrigation between June–September accounts for more than half their annual water usage.

Urging everyone in Brentwood to rally around water conservation and do their part Mayor Robert Taylor said, “We are facing one of the State’s worst droughts in history. Every city in California is being asked to
make major cuts. The only way to achieve our reduction goals is to get the entire City of Brentwood
committed to the effort. It won’t be easy, but I am an optimist, and I know Brentwood can do it.”

Residential potable water customers will be in compliance by staying within the citywide average of
11,000 gallons or less of monthly potable water use (May-October) and 5,000 gallons or less of monthly
potable water use (November-April).

Non-Residential potable water customers will be in compliance by staying within the citywide average of 32,000 gallons or less of monthly potable water use (May-October) and 24,000 gallons or less of monthly potable water use (November-April).

Penalties for non-compliance were also announced by the City, and will be issued beginning in July if
customers do not achieve the required water use reductions. To avoid penalties, Residential and Non-Residential Potable Water customers must stay within the above citywide average monthly use or cut consumption of potable water by 35% compared to what they used in 2013. Penalties for noncompliance will be issued on monthly bills and are as follows:

Residential and Non-Residential Potable Water Use Reduction* Penalty
21% – 34%: $100
0% – 20%: $200
Increased Water Use $300
*Based on 2013 usage levels

To avoid penalties Irrigation Potable Water customers must reduce their irrigation potable water consumption by 40% compared to what they used in 2013. Penalties for non-compliance will be issued on monthly bills and are as follows:

Irrigation Potable Water Use Reduction* Penalty
21% – 39% $100
0% – 20% $200
Increased Water Use $300
*Based on 2013 usage levels. Irrigation Potable Water Use Reduction applies to customers who have
accounts that are irrigation only.

To help customers calculate the amount of consumption they need to reduce, information on 2013 usage levels is now available on the City’s website at www.brentwoodca.gov/2013usage or customers can call Utility Billing at 925.516.5415.

To incentivize customers, the City also announced a new rebate program for residential and nonresidential potable water customers who manage to save even more than the required 35% and for irrigation potable water use customers who save more than the required 40%. Customers achieving such reductions will receive a credit on their water bill as follows.

Brentwood-Water-Rebate

Click to enlarge image

An appeal process to address anomalies in the bill has been established. Customers can appeal in writing to the Director of Public Works within fifteen days of the bill and dispute the penalty. If unresolved, within fifteen days of the Director’s findings, customers can appeal to the City Manager’s office who will issue a written determination, which is final. It is the City’s intent to partner with the community through outreach and education to weather this drought mandated by the State. As a community we can stand together, conserve our natural resources and look at sustainable alternatives.

Bailey Grewal, Director of Public Works for City of Brentwood, noted that careful management of Brentwood’s water supply has helped brace the City for the impact of the drought, and that although major reductions are being called for, customers should rest assured that deliveries of water to customer’s homes is still ensured.

“Fortunately, the City of Brentwood invested in recycled water early on. That investment has paid off and it is helping us out significantly right now.”

The City is taking actions that will soon make recycled water available for free to customers and is waiting for approval from the water board. Stay tuned for more information.

The City’s water use restrictions include:

  • No watering between 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • No watering within 48 hours after measurable rainfall
  • No watering more than 2 days per week**
  • No excessive landscape runoff
  • No washing vehicle, trailer, boat without shutoff nozzle
  • No washing paved or hardscape surfaces
  • No water use for non-recirculating fountains
  • No watering new home construction landscape except by State approved methods.
  • No watering ornamental turf on public street medians
  • No serving drinking water except upon request in eating or drinking establishments
  • No hotels/motels daily laundering of towels/linens unless requested by a guest
  • **The City recommends using the cycle-and-soak method for irrigation, which reduces run-off and gives more time for absorption. Several short 4-6 minutes cycles, set about an hour apart, early in the morning are recommended.

To help enforce compliance, the City will first issue friendly reminders if a customer is suspected of
violating the above water use restrictions.

The City is urging the community to help cut water use immediately. More information on water conservation tips, and upcoming outreach and education will be posted on the City’s website
www.brentwoodca.gov/drought