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Water Conservation FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

Why should I conserve water?

  1. To ensure there’s enough water to go around. – The City of Pleasanton purchases water from Zone 7, which in turn is supplied with water from 3 sources: the State Water Project, Lake Del Valle, and groundwater. Currently the City of Pleasanton is secure in water, however if drought conditions occur, less water would be supplied to Zone 7, thus reducing the amount of water available to the City of Pleasanton.
  2. Treated water is expensive. – All the water coming out from your tap has been treated. This process is expensive. If conservation measures are practiced it reduces the demand for water, and ultimately reduces the cost for water since less treated water is needed.
  3. Water is limited. – Even in non-drought years, water conservation is necessary. It’s one of the limited resources needed by all living organisms. With our expanding growth and increase in water demand, smart use of water will help ensure water is available in our future and the future of all the organisms around us.

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How do I check for leaks around my house?

The first step is to look for obvious leaks around your home. Look around each sink faucet and shower to see if there are any drips. The areas underneath your sinks, refrigerator, and water-heater should be dry and without any signs of recent water damage.

The next step is to check your water meter. Your meter is generally located in front of the house next to the street under a lid marked “WATER”. To ensure there are no sources of leaking water in your house record the meter reading. With a pencil or tape mark where the red sweep hand is located on the meter. Wait 30 minutes – in this time make sure no water sources are turned on inside or outside of your house. After 30 minutes, go back to the meter and see if the reading has changed. If it has not, there are no leaks; and if it has changed, you have a leak.

A leaky toilet can waste large amounts of water. To see if you have a leaky toilet, try putting a few drops of food coloring into the toilet tank. Wait 20 minutes without flushing. Then check if the food color has leaked into the toilet bowl. Toilets are usually easy to repair. You can find useful toilet repair advice at: http://www.toiletology.com/.

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When is a leak the City’s responsibility to repair?

If you know you have a leak and are not sure where it is located, the best thing to do is call a plumber. If you are unsure if it is the City’s responsibility or yours, call the City (925-931-5500) and we will make a courtesy visit to assess the problem. If the leak is on the homeowner’s side of the meter, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to fix it.

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If I have a leak and repair it, will the City reimburse me for the lost water?

If a leak is found and repaired, City residential customers are given a refund up to $200, and up to $800 for business customers. The amount refunded is based on an average water usage from the past 3 years of water consumption.

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What number should I call to report excessive water use or leaks in Pleasanton?

To report leaks or excessive water use, please call the City of Pleasanton Operations Service Center at (925) 931-5500. If you spot a water main break after hours of operation, call Pleasanton Police non-emergency line at (925) 931-5100.

 

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Will I have less water pressure if I install a low-flow showerhead?

Low-flow showerheads are great devices for saving water and energy in the shower. They are designed with smaller holes compared to inefficient models, so the stream coming out of the showerhead is finer and at a higher velocity of stream. This results in consistent water pressure.

Not only do they use less water (2-2.5 gallons per minute compared to 5-7 gallons per minute), but they also save energy from not needing to heat the additional water that would have otherwise been used by an inefficient model. In addition, these showerheads may optionally have a feature that allows you to stop the flow of water all together while soaping up – then resuming with the same water temperature when needed.

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Does the City of Pleasanton have water restrictions?

Yes, however these restrictions are used during periods of drought. These restrictions are outlined in the City’s municipal code, in section 9.30. In the event of a drought, the City will announce the need to cut back water use, and if a mandatory enforcement is needed, penalties will be issued for water ordinance violations.

In addition to restrictions, the City has prohibitions on certain water uses. These prohibitions are currently on a voluntary basis. They are:

  • Use of potable water between 10am-4pm for irrigation use for more than 5 minutes.
  • Use of potable water to wash-down hard surfaces, such as sidewalks, driveways, and parking lots.
  • Not fixing a leak of potable water for more than 8 hours after the customer’s notification or discovery.
  • Excessive customer use of potable water allocation for any purpose.

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How can I figure out how many gallons of water my sprinkler system is using?

The easiest way to figure out how much water your sprinkler system is using is to use your water meter. Before turning your sprinklers on, record the reading off your water meter, located in front of the house next to the street. Make sure no other water sources are turned on inside or outside of your home (including appliances such as dishwaters and cloth washers). Then turn your sprinklers on and allow them to run as programmed. Once the sprinklers have shut off, record the new reading off the water meter. Subtract the previous reading from the new one. Your meter measures the number of cubic feet of water. 1 cubic foot = 7.48 gallons. Apply the conversion, and now you have the number of gallons used by your sprinkler system for one water cycle as you have programmed.

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How do I read my water meter?

Using the picture on the right as an example, this meter reports 817.10 cubic feet of water consumed. The City of Pleasanton bills by the “unit”. Each unit is equal to 100 cubic feet.

 

 

 

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Why is my water bill so high?

The amount due on your water bill is the sum of 3 separate fees: 1) sewer fee – this is a set fee dependent upon the customer class (i.e. residential, multi-family, commercial), 2) meter charge – a fixed bimonthly water meter service charge (fee depends upon meter size), and 3) water consumption charge – a fixed rate for commercial customers, and a 3-tier rate structure for residential customers. Your bill indicates the price for each tier. Your water consumption is charged by the unit. One unit is equal to 748 gallons of water. For residential customers the fewer units of water you use, the lower the water rate tier you fall into - which will lower your water bill.

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How can I be using “X” number of gallons of water per day?

This value is the average number of gallons used per number of billed day.

To get an idea of how much water is used in one day by a single-family household, let’s look at an example of an average day’s water use for a family of four, for both a non-water efficient household as well as one using water efficiently:

 

Type of Water Use

Frequency

of use (/person)

Consumption per Use

Consumption for Family of 4 (gallons)

Non-efficient

Efficient

Non-efficient

Efficient

Toilets

6

3 gal/flush

1.6 gal/flush

72

38.4

Showers

(10 min)

1

6 gal/min

2 gal/min

240

80

Faucets

8.1 min

2.75 gal/min

1.5 gal/min

89.1

48.6

Dishwasher

1 load

10.5 gal

7 gal

10.5

7

Clothes washer

1 load

51

27

51

27

Total Indoor daily use

 

462.6

201

Outdoor watering

(50% of total water use)

460

200

Total daily use

 

922.6*

401*

*Water leaks can account for 13.7% of additional daily household water consumption (not calculated into these figures).

(Adapted from the Handbook of Water Use and Conservation by Amy Vickers)

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Why do I periodically see city workers opening fire hydrants and wasting water?

It is required by the State to flush the lines once a year in order to reduce build up of sediment and keep water quality high in Pleasanton. If not flushed, sediments collected in the pipes could flow into homes.

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Is there currently a water cutback due to Delta issues?

The City of Pleasanton is currently asking its water customers to voluntarily cut back on their water consumption by 10%. This cut back request is in collaboration with the City’s water supplier, Zone 7’s request for a voluntary cut back of 10%. By following the many helpful tips and resources provided on the City’s Water Conservation Program website, customers can seamlessly reach this 10% cut back.

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