Tuesday, June 30, 2009

We Want Your Water-Saving Ideas

We Want Your Water Saving Ideas

With CCWD’s Drought Management Plan nearly two months old, most of our customers are saving water….thank you and keep up the good work.

Our question is: how have you done it? We want to tell those who are having trouble what our successful customers are doing. So let us know if you’ve cut back on your outside watering, are taking shorter showers, did you buy a new high-efficiency clothes washer? Let us know what works. We’ll spread your knowledge and help others save. Send an e-mail or call (925) 688-8175.

Wait for Home Water Surveys Shorter Now

One of our most popular and useful services is the free Home Water Use Survey, where one of our water-saving experts will come to your home and show you how to save water.We’ve been offering these free surveys for more than 10 years. When the Drought Management Program was first announced in the spring, many people signed up and we had a long waiting list. We’ve worked our way through the list, and now the wait is much more manageable. Even if you had a survey a few years ago, and feel you might need a refresher, we’ll be happy to come back to your home and fine tune your water saving efforts. This is what we’ll do in the free survey

* Provide useful conservation tips to help you meet your Drought Management Program goals.

* Inspect irrigation stations, and provide a checklist of suggested improvements.

Provide irrigation scheduling information to assist you with programming your timer.

Check for signs of leaks

Demonstrate how to read your water meter and use it to monitor your use.

Provide high-efficiency showerheads and kitchen faucet aerators, if needed.

This free service is offered to residential customers in the CCWD service area.

. Sign up for a FREE Home Water Use Survey online. We'll call you to schedule a date.

Our New Water Calculator Helps Fine Tune Your Water Savings

If you’ve had a home water survey done, you know exactly how much water each of your irrigation systems uses per minute. Now, you can easily use that information – and our new online calculator – to fine tune your watering schedule, and know exactly how much water you’re saving.

Just enter the figures, and we’ll do the math instantly. You can make adjustments, and see how those ideas affect your water use.

More, More, More 'Mulch, Mulch, Mulch' Coupons

Last month, we introduced our “Mulch, Mulch, Mulch” program, in which you can print a coupon to get a discount on the price of mulch, which will save a lot of water in your garden.

Since then, we’ve added seven new locations and even better coupons, including Orchard Supply Hardware’s three stores within the District, four local Navlet’s centers and Village Nurseries in Brentwood. We’ve got coupons that will give you substantial discounts, whether you’re buying mulch in bulk or in bags.

Our Smart Car Wash discount program continues as well. You can use these coupons as often as you like to save money and water.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

See Our New Water Conservation Kiosks at Local Libraries

We have new water conservation kiosks touring local libraries this summer.

Now when you look for new books, you can also stop by our blue kiosk and pick up some water saving tips, take a quiz about water-themed movies, even ask a question online or sign up for a home water survey.

The kiosk are at the libraries in Antioch and Pleasant Hill this week and next, and will then head out to other libraries. We'll let you know where they're at. So please look for the kiosks and give them a test drive. Do you know how the James Bond movie "Quantum of Solace" is related to water?

In the photo, a library patron seeks water saving answers at our new kiosk at the Antioch Library.

Set Your Lawn Mower Higher, Save Water

As the weather is getting warmer, remember lawns are water guzzlers. Lawns are generally the single biggest water user for a typical property — offering the greatest potential for water savings.

If you have good reasons to keep your lawn, remember we all must reduce our water use. 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.

  • Adjust your watering schedule by reducing the number of watering days per week and make sure you are only watering early in the morning, between 3 a.m. and 8 a.m.

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

  • Check your sprinkler heads on a regular basis to ensure they are not watering the sidewalk or fence.

  • Share Your Water-Saving Secrets

    It's been nearly two months since CCWD started the Drought Management Program, and while we don't have all the figures in yet, it looks like people are saving quite a bit of water. Thank you.

    We want to know how you are doing it, and want to share your knowledge with others.

    We know many customers are putting a bucket in their shower, to collect cold water in the morning, and then using the water in the bucket for your plants. We also know that many of you have cut back your irrigation timers, and are watering in the early morning before it gets hot to ensure the water soaks into the ground.

    But maybe you've come up with a new idea, or a twist on an old one.

    Let us know, and we'll let our customers know here in the blog, tweets and on the web. Send Us An E-Mail With Your Idea or call (925) 688-8175.

    Thursday, June 18, 2009

    Don't Overreact Outside Now That It's Warming Up

    The temperatures in eastern and central Contra Costa County are expected to warm up to normal for this time of year...but summer weather is not the time to pour a lot of water on your garden.

    Even though it's warming up, don't go crazy and put extra water on your plants and lawn. We're still in a drought, and for most people most savings will come from watering their yards wisely and frugally.

    Water Conservation Specialist Bob Eagle says the important thing is to stick to your schedule of watering early in the morning and for short cycles. Your lawn and plants will be fine in the warmer weather. "Don't overreact," warns Bob.

    If you've been watering early and in short cycles, Bob said your plants and lawn will have developed the deep roots needed to stay healthy for the sunny weather. If you haven't been following these practices, it's a good time to start.

    For more information on landscape irrigating, please look here. If you need a quick guide, we have 10 helpful tips here.

    Some Folks Are Slipping On Following Water Rules

    Our Water Surveyors are starting to see more instances of people forgetting the "Prohibited Uses of Water" during the District's Drought Management Program.

    You can't wash your driveways, sidewalks and parkways with water, use a broom instead.

    You also can't have excessive flooding or runoff of water. Keep sprinklers pointed in the right direction, don't over water.

    If you're washing your car, trailer or boat, you must have a hose with with a shut off nozzle attached.

    Look for the complete list of prohibited uses of water here.

    See Water Waste? Call Our Water Savings Team at (925) 688-8044

    If you suspect water waste in your neighborhood, call our CCWD Water Savings Team at (925) 688-8044 or send us an e-mail at jfreschi@ccwater.com.

    Make sure to let us know what's happening, where , what time it's happening, and any other details that may help us solve the problem.

    We've received hundreds of calls since the team was formed earlier this year, and we check up on each call. We talk to the people involved, and in most cases all it takes is a little education and the problem is solved.

    Drought Management Program In Four Languages

    We have now printed the Drought Management Program in four different languages: Spanish, Farsi, Tagalog and Chinese. Look here to download them.

    Conservation Tip for June: Raise the lawn mowing height to 2-1/2” – 3”. This keeps lawns looking better all summer and saves water.

    Monday, June 15, 2009

    CCWD GM To Talk About Water At Commonwealth Club

    CCWD General Manager Walther J. Bishop will be one of four speakers at a Commonwealth Club presentation titled "California Parched: The Future of Water Policy in California" on June 25 in Lafayette.

    Mr. Bishop will be joined by: Charles Hoppin, Chairman, State Water Resources Control Board; Richard Howitt, Professor and Department Chair, Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Davis; and Mark Schlosberg, California Director, Food & Water Watch.

    Mike Taugher, Environmental Reporter for the Contra Costa Times, will be the moderator.

    Mr. Bishop has been the General Manager of the Contra Costa Water District since 1992.

    He is well known for his active leadership role in state and national water issues. At a national level, he has served an important role in shaping drinking water policy. He currently is a member of American Water Works Association’s (AWWA) Water Utility Council, International Council and Strategic Planning Committee. In 2004, he was elected Chair of the American Water Works Association Research Foundation (AwwaRF), the largest research organization dedicated to drinking water. He served on the AWWA Board of Directors and Executive Committee during his three-year term as the AwwaRF Chair.

    He has been a two-term member of the National Drinking Water Advisory Council, which is chartered by Congress to advise the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on national drinking water policy. Mr. Bishop formed and then chaired the Leadership Center at the University of North Carolina School of Business for five years.


    Look up local city information on drought plans

    Some of the cities within the Contra Costa Water District have started their own water conservation plans. If you live in one of these cities, take a look to make sure you understand the water savings goals you're expected to meet.

    City of Martinez

    City of Pittsburg

    City of Antioch

    Diablo Water District

    Golden State Water Company (Bay Point)


    Mulching Essential To Saving Water Outside

    Mulching is essential to the survival of your landscape during a drought. Mulch will reduce the amount of water that evaporates from your soil, greatly reducing your need to water your plants. Mulch also provides nutrients to sandy soil and improves its ability to hold water.

    Roots like mulch. Mulch acts as an insulating layer on top of soil, keeping it cooler in the summer.

    Gardeners like mulch. Mulch keeps weeds down, and the weeds that do grow are much easier to pull.

    CCWD has introduced a mulch program providing coupons to save on mulch purchases from local nurseries and landscape material suppliers. Select a mulch supplier from our Web site, www.ccwater.com/conserve/mulch.asp, print out a coupon and save on your next mulch purchase!

    For more drought survival tips, go to www.ccwater.com/conserve or check with your local water provider. For questions on the drought management program or your water allocation call the drought help line at 925-688-8009.


    Friday, June 12, 2009

    Stop By The Green Fest Saturday

    CCWD's water conservation experts will be at the CCCAR Green Fest at Heather Farms on Saturday, June 13.

    There will be a 5K run in the morning, and then a community festival. Please stop by our booth and ask any questions you have about conserving water and CCWD's Water Management Program. You can also pick up a free shower timer.

    Here's a link to the event:

    Our Water Meter Video Proves Popular

    You never know what to expect when you post a video on You Tube. But when we posted our video on "How To Read Your Water Meter" about a month ago, we hoped a few people would find it helpful.

    Well, the three-minute video featuring Water Conservation Specialist Bob Eagle has now been seen by more than 600 people.

    That's more attention than we expected.

    Hopefully the video, and our online water use calculator, helps you determine your water use in real time.

    Local Websites That Can Help You With Your Water Conservation Plan

    CCWD water is served to more than 550,000 people in central and eastern Contra Costa County.

    If you live in a city that distributes water and bills you through the city, you may have a different conservation plan than CCWD's. Here are links to the cities that have their own versions of the water conservation plan. Wherever you live, the idea is the same: "Save Water & Beat The Drought."

    City of Martinez

    City of Pittsburg

    City of Antioch

    Diablo Water District

    Golden State Water Company (Bay Point)

    Want Even More Water Conservation Information?

    The state has developed a neat website called "Save Our H2O." If you enjoy baseball, you'll get a kick out of a water conservation video with former Giants Manager Dusty Baker. There is also a neat water use calculator that can show you where you're using water.

    Also, you can follow CCWD on "Twitter" We update it nearly everyday.

    Monday, June 8, 2009

    Some Good Tips To Save Water

    Here are a few actions you can take to meet the goal of CCWD's Drought Management Program.

    # Reduce the number of lawn and landscape watering days per week. Landscape irrigation accounts for more than half of most residential customers use.

    # Mulch your shrub areas and deep-soak them monthly only. Get discounts on mulch through our Mulch, Mulch, Mulch program,.

    # Replace inefficient fixtures such as toilets, washers and showerheads. Check for rebates at www.ccwater.com.

    # Stress your lawn areas. Lawns use the most water and are the easiest to come back.

    To receive current drought information sign up for the CCWD Conservation E-Newsletter. For questions on water conservation programs, in-home surveys and rebates call 925-688-8320. For questions on your water allocation call the drought help line at 925-688-8009