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March 25, 2014 > Water shortage emergency declared

Water shortage emergency declared

Submitted By Frank Jahn,

On March 13, 2014, the Alameda County Water District Board of Directors declared a water shortage emergency within Fremont, Newark, and Union City and adopted an ordinance that includes mandatory water-use restrictions.

ÒThe exceptionally dry conditions forced our hand,Ó noted ACWD Board president Paul Sethy. ÒWithout mandatory conservation, we wonÕt be able to meet ordinary water demands without depleting our supply or reducing its quality.Ó

The bulk of the restrictions relate to landscape irrigation. Lawns and other landscaping may be watered no more than one day per week during the fall, spring, and winter; and no more than two days per week during the summer. Public parks, school grounds, golf courses, and day care centers are allowed one extra day of irrigation per week, as is new drought-tolerant landscaping that replaces irrigated turf. Irrigation while it is raining is prohibited, as is irrigation that results in ponding or excessive runoff.

Other water use restrictions include prohibitions against hosing off sidewalks and driveways, using hoses without shut-off nozzles, and draining and refilling of swimming pools.

Enforcement of the restrictions will involve a three-step process. Violators will first be sent a written warning via U.S. mail. A second warning will be issued during an on-site visit if violations persist. Continued violations may result in termination of water service.

Exceptions to the water-use restrictions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

ÒOur customers have always risen to the task of conserving water during previous droughts,Ó said ACWD General Manager Walt Wadlow. ÒItÕs our sincere hope that theyÕll respond again as we cope with the worst water supply emergency in the DistrictÕs 100 year history.Ó

Violations of the mandatory restrictions can be reported to ACWD by calling (510) 668-4299 or visiting

California is currently experiencing the driest conditions in its recorded history. The Sierra snowpack, which accounts for the bulk of the stateÕs drinking water, is currently at 28% of normal. The Department of Water Resources has informed ACWD that it will receive 0% of its annual allocation from the State Water Project which typically accounts for 40% of the DistrictÕs supply. Additionally, local runoff, which accounts for another 40% of the DistrictÕs supply, is currently at only about 33% of normal.

For information on how to conserve water, visit the Drought Resource Center at or call the Drought Hotline at (510) 668-4470.

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