Contra Costa Water District: Early Returns Show You’re Saving Water

June 5, 2014 10:00 am · 23 comments

It looks like customers are saying water, according to the Contra Costa Water District (CCWD).

The following information is from CCWD:

It’s too early to tell how much water customers are saving under the Contra Costa Water District’s Voluntary 15 Percent Drought Program, but we can see customers are using less.

The drought program began on April 1, but it also rained quite a bit in March and nearly an inch in early April. Most people turned off their sprinklers and saved water, which is good. But the rain made it it impossible to tell if people are changing the way they use water in their homes and businesses, or just reacted to the wet weather.

In May, there was no rain to skew the numbers. CCWD reads water meters every two months, so we only have half of the results. It’s too early to say if customers are meeting the 15 percent goal. The trends are looking good. Also, interest in water saving rebates are up, as are the number of people visiting the District’s website: looking for water saving ideas. In April, we sold out our Lose the Lawn, Grow A Garden workshop.

In July, we’ll have complete numbers and will let you know. As it gets hotter this summer, please remember to continue to save.

CCWD Stopped Filling Los Vaqueros in May

Because of those spring rains, which brought quality water to the Delta, CCWD was able to continue to fill the recently-expanded Los Vaqueros Reservoir until May 20.

The reservoir, which can store up to 160,000 acre-feet of water, is now storing 130,000 acre-feet of water, or 82 percent of its capacity.

At this point, CCWD does not need to use the water stored in LV, but will later this summer. The expanded reservoir has already proved its worth this year, with water storage that will help this year and into the future.

Incognito June 5, 2014 at 10:07 AM

The last water bill I received showed I cut back over 20 percent of water consumption. Shortened showers, and using a 3-gallon bucket in walk-in shower to collect water to use to water garden plants. Every little bit helps.

We all need to do our part, including those in this state who do not have water meters and I am finding this includes a lot! It’s not just those who are metered and can potentially receives fines or higher rates for not reducing, but everyone!

I’m still seeing leaking irrigation systems both at residential and commercial properties which leads to a big waste of water.

Wait a minute June 5, 2014 at 10:20 AM

We put a 5 gallon bucket in the shower to catch the excess water. We use that water to water the plants and replenish our fountain in the front.
I’m sharing this idea, would also like to hear what others are doing.

Always Right June 5, 2014 at 10:24 AM

Measure Q ( for Concord) and the Los Vaqueros bond measure represent the only tax increases I have voted for in the last 25 years.

iluvfriedchicken June 5, 2014 at 10:56 AM

Too many typos!

Anonastink June 5, 2014 at 11:34 AM

I haven’t showered for nearly two weeks!!

William June 5, 2014 at 11:59 AM

Who can tell me the percentage of all CA water usage which is residential users? Anyone?

(It’s only 11%)

Agriculture and industrial water usage dwarfs residential usage.

Vandy June 5, 2014 at 12:08 PM

A 5 gallon bucket catching shower water can also be used to flush toilets. You can pour it directly into the bowl, enough to flush it. But be careful not to splash it out.

Some people have water wells June 5, 2014 at 12:20 PM

for irrigation such as watering lawns. My water well sprinkler system does not leak and I have a nice green lawn and thriving shrubs and flowers. I don’t waste the well water, I water prudently in the early morning. I also have reduced my inside water usage by about 15%. Cut back on showers, using a bucket I use the water to refill flushed toilets.

Well water is nothing I would want to drink unless it was treated in some way, but the plants sure love the stuff. Glad I spent the money for the pump and sprinkler system.

@#1 & #2 June 5, 2014 at 12:20 PM

We do the same thing.

so? June 5, 2014 at 12:27 PM

#6, You still want to eat food, right? And we still need to work, don’t we?

furian June 5, 2014 at 12:28 PM

Everyone, including customers, say ‘water!’

Incognito June 5, 2014 at 12:31 PM

Good idea, Vandy #7.

I was also raised to go with the saying when at home: “If it is yellow, it’s mellow, if it’s brown, flush it down” which in plain English says you really do not have to flush every single time you take a pee.

Eat food June 5, 2014 at 1:13 PM

Why is water not rationed based on the # of residents located in that home? Stupid government being stupid again.

The Realist June 5, 2014 at 1:34 PM

Because that would inconvenience the people who aren’t living 12 to a 3 bedroom house, like my rental neighbors.
3 bedrooms = 3 people. Period.
Thanks Concord City council

I’m glad someone is conserving because I refuse too until they quit sending our delta water to SoCal. SUCK IT CCWD

Pro Fi June 5, 2014 at 2:05 PM

@ The Realist – Your welcome. So glad to see you are honest about it. So sad when so many people are trying just so jerks like you still have water.

What we are doing –
Got rid of the green lawn. It is all mulch now.
Showers limited to 3 minutes… with bucket
Flushing only as needed
Put in a system to use the gray water from the washer to irrigate the veggies in the garden
Seeing a great improvement on our bill too!

gimli June 5, 2014 at 2:17 PM

Does anyone know if the self car washes use reclaimed (recycled) water?

Wasters June 5, 2014 at 2:57 PM

yesterday i saw that someone was water their lawn in the heat of the day (4pm). if you’re going to water your lawn, at least do it in the early morning or evening so that it isn’t evaporating so quickly.

Kirkwood June 5, 2014 at 4:22 PM

Self car washes use high pressure pumps that require clean water. To reuse that water would require expensive filtering. In the last two droughts, regular car washes claimed to recycle their water, don’t know if they do now. Central Sanitary District dumps many millions of gallons of near drinkable wastewater into the river every day. Unfortunately there is no infrastructure to distribute that water, except to nearby refineries.

Think about it June 5, 2014 at 10:20 PM

You can only do so much saving in-doors in lowering water use especially if you are already water wise in your home. During summer 50-75% of your water will be used outdoors especially if you have a medium to large size landscape. Reducing time or days on your irrigation timer is huge for saving water. Just 1 minute change can save you 50 gallons a day depending how many stations you have on your controller, and obviously it depends if you have sprinklers or drip. Governor Brown’s drought declaration encourages people to attempt to only water their landscape 2 days a week. I’ve been only doing 2 days a week cycling 4 times at 4 minutes and the lawn has been doing great until this past week. Now its 3 times a week cycling 4 times at 3 minutes a cycle. Small simple steps can save more than 15% for CCWD but also save more on your bills!

Don't waste June 6, 2014 at 8:12 AM

I managed to save over 200 gallons of what little rain we did get, by placing containers where the rain runs off certain areas of my home. This water is stored in large garbage cans. It is used to water my outside plants. Secondary problem was mosquito larvae so I went to Contra Costa Vector Control for mosquito fish problem solved. Now my plants have water and my yard doesn’t have a mosquito problem.

J. June 6, 2014 at 9:47 AM

I place a two-gallon bucket in the shower then use that water to flush the toilet. You dump it out in to the bowl (not in to the tank). Easy.

cccsd wwtp operator June 6, 2014 at 10:13 AM

@kirkwood #18

Not exactly true, I’m an operator at the wastewater treatment plant, and operate the recycled water plant often. We recycle about 2-4 million gallons of water a day, albeit on average 36 million gallons of cleaned wastewater goes to the bay (this water is by no means drinkable).

Of that recycled water, NONE of it goes to the refineries (they still use CCWD potable water for their cooling towers), the treatment plant uses 1 million gallons in house for hose bibs and sprayers for the process, the other 3 million goes to the recycled water pipeline. It spans from Martinez to Pleasant Hill.

Diablo Creek Golf Course off Port Chicago is one of our main users – they fill all their ponds and water their grounds with recycled water. As does the community park at Pleasant Hill. So does DVC to water their grounds. The Willows just got hooked up in a $4 million recycled water expansion program.

There is infrastructure available, there could be more however. Here is some info maybe you didn’t know, by 2020 – CCWD is required to get 20% of their water from recycled resources. For them, thats somewhere around 20MGD (million gallons a day) or more. Where will they get that from? CCCSD is trying to be that source.

There is information on recycled water available at

Marianne June 6, 2014 at 10:24 AM

I reduced the time limits for watering my lawns.

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