For Immediate Release
Press Contact: Mary Kay Clunies-Ross, PIO, City Manager's Office, (510) 981-7008

CITY RESTRICTING WATER USE; EAST BAY MUD PROPOSES RATE HIKES
Parks to cut back on watering some areas; pool and Marina patrons asked to conserve as well

Berkeley, California (Tuesday, July 01, 2008) - Berkeley residents are being asked to join the City in reducing their use of water while water restrictions get tighter. On July 8, the EBMUD board will consider an additional 10 percent rate increase.

“The City has already done a lot to reduce water use in our daily operations,” said City Manager Phil Kamlarz. “But to meet the reduction goals that East Bay MUD set, we’re having to find new ways to cut our water usage even more. People are going to see the difference around town, just like they will in their own lawns.”

This year, the City will be reducing the number of watering days at each park; working with EBMUD to increase the efficiency of the irrigation systems; and postponing the water-intensive testing of City fire hydrants. The City will also be reminding City employees and park and marina users to conserve the water they use at those facilities.

The City’s water reduction strategies include prioritizing water for certain areas. For example, playing fields will continue to be watered for the safety and comfort of the players, and park grass will be preserved as much as possible. Medians and landscaping, however, are lower priority and may brown as the summer wears on.

Health and safety activities, such as washing garbage trucks and some sidewalk cleaning, will also continue, although some schedules and practices may change.

Some of the other long-term water-saving measures the City has taken include:

  • Covering pools when not in use to save energy and reduce evaporation;
  • Using low-flow valves and low-water toilets in retrofitted City buildings;
  • Making repairs to leaks at the Willard Pool;
  • Using mulch chips in place of planting and irrigation in parks and medians;
  • Building two of the new playing fields at Gilman Street with artificial turf and laying duplicate pipes for EBMUD-treated reclaimed water;
  • Washing sidewalks with water-efficient high-pressure valves;
  • Constructing traffic circles without irrigation;
  • Planting parks with more trees and less small flowers and plants.

If you see water running on public property, please notify the City immediately. If you see water in a park, call 981-6660, and anywhere else on public property, call 981-6620.

Here are some other resources for reducing your water and other energy usage:

EBMUD: Find a list of WaterSmart Tips for reducing your water consumption on EBMUD’s webpage.  To get free water-saving devices, stop by the district office, 375 11th St., Oakland, go to www.ebmud.com, or call (866) 403-2683. To read more about the proposed rate increase, visit http://www.ebmud.com/drought/rates.html.

Rising Sun Energy Center: Take advantage a program that can help you reduce your water and energy consumption:  California Youth Energy Services (CYES) provides FREE summer services for your home, including installation of water-saving devices. Visit http://www.risingsunenergy.org/programs.htm or call 510-665-1501

City of Berkeley Housing Department: Find information on Weatherization Program, which provides water and energy-saving measures for low-income customers. Visit www.cityofberkeley.info/housing or call 510-981-7770.

Stopwaste: Find tools for creating a beautiful and Bay-Friendly garden while fostering soil health, conserving water, reducing waste and preventing pollution. http://www.stopwaste.org/home/index.asp?page=8 or call 510-891-6500 and press 0.

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