Thursday, April 30, 2009

"Bringing Back the Natives" This Sunday

CCWD is a long-time sponsor of the award-winning "Bringing Back the Natives" tour of local gardens that use native plants to save water and have a beautiful garden.

More than 50 gardens located throughout Alameda and Contra Costa counties will be showcased on this tour, which will take place on Sunday, May 3.

In addition as part of the Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour, a number of native plant nurseries—most not normally open to the public—will be open on Saturday, May 2 and Sunday May 3, from 10 to 5. Take advantage of this opportunity to shop for unique or hard-to-find native plants that are not normally available in most nurseries! You do not need to register for the Tour in order to shop at these nurseries on the weekend of the extravaganza.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Drought Management Program Begins May 1

Contra Costa Water District Meter Readers will be working long hours and through the weekend starting May 1 as part of the District’s Drought Management Program.

The Drought Management Program begins on the first day of May.

So that all CCWD customers will start the water-saving program at the same time, more than 60,000 water meters will be read during the first week of May.

Meter readers will be seen in neighborhoods on Saturdays and Sundays, and much earlier and later in the day than normal. All meter readers will be wearing orange CCWD shirts and safety vests and will be carrying their CCWD identification card.

Though meters will be read to establish the starting point for the Drought Program, customers will receive their water bills at close to their normal time frames. The bills will explain charges under the Drought Management Program and under normal billing.

Have a question?Please send an email or call the CCWD Drought Center at (925) 688-8009.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Tips From Our Customers For Saving Water

With California suffering from drought conditions, the Contra Costa Water District offers weekly tips on using water wisely.

CCWD has had its water supply reduced by its supplier, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. CCWD has planned for a reduction and has secured additional water to make up most of the reduction, however, to meet the full reduction, CCWD is asking its customers to reduce until further notice.

Residential customers are asked to reduce water use compared to their historical use. CCWD recently sent a letter to all customers showing their individual water budgets to meet the reduction goal.

We have received great suggestions from many customers on how to reduce. Here are just a few:

# Water one less day than normal.

# Reduce the number of minutes on the irrigation schedule by 15 percent.

# Cut the water on a lawn that needs to be replaced by adding drought-tolerant plants.

# Replace that old water-guzzling toilet with a new high-efficiency toilet. (CCWD and other water providers have rebates.)

# Install a high-efficiency shower head (CCWD has free shower heads, just stop by our office at 1331 Concord Ave. between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.).

# Read your water meter every few weeks to monitor usage. CCWD has a tip sheet for this, where we do the math, and a video as well.

For more conservation information and drought survival tips, visit

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Lots of Great Ideas on Saving Water With Your Lawn

Lawns are generally the single biggest water user for a typical property — offering the greatest potential for water savings.

If the only time you walk on your lawn is to mow, consider eliminating turf areas and plan a new landscape with permeable materials and native plants. CCWD has a CD available for District customers for your computer that will help you find attractive water-saving plants. You can order it here, it's free.

If you have good reasons to keep your lawn, remember we all must reduce our water use. Your lawn may not look its best this year, but here are some simple maintenance practices that will help it survive drought.

# Mow lawns 2½ to 3 inches high. Taller blades promote deeper roots and provide shade for soil.

# Don't fertilize. Actively growing plants need more water, and fertilizers can damage already stressed root systems.

# Trim grass adjacent to sprinkler head to ensure the sprinkler is not blocked.

# Reduce the watering schedule and make sure you are only watering early in the morning (between 3 and 8 a.m.).

For more drought survival tips, go to or to schedule a free home water use efficiency evaluation, call 925-688-8320. For questions on the drought management program or your water allocation, call the drought help line at 925-688-8009. Those living outside the district should call their water provider for information and assistance.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Meet us at the John Muir Earth Day Celebration Saturday

CCWD will have a water conservation booth at the John Muir Birthday -Earth Day Celebration in Martinez Saturday, April 18.

Be sure to stop by our booth, and say hello. Also, feel free to ask any questions about water conservation, our drought management plan and more. Be sure to mention you read about it in the blog!

The celebration will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the John Muir National Historic Site, located at 4202 Alhambra Ave. in Martinez.

This is a fun day, with lots of neat things to see and do. Read more about it here.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Lots of Good Ideas On Saving Water in CC Times

The Contra Costa Times ran an informative article with lots of good ideas on saving water in the home.

You can read it here:

CCWD offers rebates on new high efficiency toilets and clothes washers
and you can pick up free low-flow showerheads at CCWD's Main Office at 1331 Concord Ave. in Concord.

April Water Saving Tip of the Month -- Aerate

April is a good month to aerate your lawn. Aerating reduces soil compaction, allows air, water, and fertilizer to get to the roots; producing a healthy lawn, and improving water use efficiency.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Brochures on Drought Information Now Available

Brochures with more details on CCWD's Drought Management Program are now available online.

These brochures will be sent in the mail this week to CCWD customers in an envelope with a red note on it that states: "Drought Information."

In addition to the brochures, there will be individual information on historical water use for each of the six billing periods during the year, and the water budget.

The brochures are specific to the following rate classes:

Single Family Residential

Multi-Family Residential


An additional brochure for irrigation customers will be available, and I'll post it when it's complete.

Many have asked about the exceptions form. This PDF is available now, we expect to have an online version this week.

Remember, the program does not start until May 1.

Please write if you have any questions, or if I can be of any further service.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Drought Management Program Starts May 1

In yesterday's post, I inadvertantly published the wrong date for the start of CCWD's 15% Drought Management Program. 

The program starts May 1. 

See you at the Home and Garden Show this weekend at the Sleep Train Pavilion in Concord!

Friday, April 3, 2009

See us at the Home and Garden Show This Weekend!

CCWD will have a booth at the Home and Garden Show this weekend at the Sleep Train Pavilion in Concord.

We'll be there to answer all your questions about the saving water and the new 15% Drought Management Program that starts on May 1.

Please stop by. We'll have all kinds of resources for you.

I'll be there until about 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, please mention you've been reading our blog and say hello.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

CCWD Board Approves 15% Drought Management Program

CCWD's Board of Directors approved a 15% Drought Management Program that will start on May 1.

CCWD's 15% Drought Management Program is designed to conserve water, without raising rates or impacting industry because of the extended three-year drought.

Those who have conserved in the past, and continue to conserve water, will not see an excess water use fee.

Everybody can save water today. CCWD expects most customers will be able to save water by improving the management of their outdoor irrigation and wise water use indoors.

Here are more details on the program.

If you have a question, please send us an email or call our CCWD Drought Help Line at (925) 688-8009.