The Contra Costa Water District’s Water Saver Newsletter – July 2014

July 19, 2014 13:00 pm · 18 comments


Keep Conserving in the Hot Months to Come

Contra Costa Water District customers have cut their water use by 17 percent!

Thank you, your efforts to save today will help ensure we have enough water to meet future needs.

This exceptional savings occurred over the months of April, May and June after the District’s Drought Program began. Water use is compared to the District’s historic average from 2005-2007.

CCWD’s Drought Program for 2014 is asking for a 15 percent reduction, so once again our customers have enthusiastically responded to the call to find new ways to conserve. CCWD has a list of prohibited wasteful water practices, you can see them here.

Of course, August and September are generally hot and dry, and that means CCWD customers must continue to save water.

This is the last year of our high-efficiency toilet rebate program. If you haven’t replaced that old toilet yet, do it now and get a rebate.

Conservation Tips and Services

Lawn & Landscape Watering Schedule

  • Lawns:  Water lawns two to three days per week in July and August.  Run stations with spray heads for 4-6 minutes per cycle and two start times per watering day.  F or example, if you have station with pop-up spray heads watering a lawn, set the timer to water for five minutes at 4 a.m. and at 6 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  This will result in the station watering a total of 30 minutes per week.
  • Shrubs:  Water shrubs two days per week.  Run spray heads for 4-6 minutes per start time and two start times per watering day.  So for example, if you have station with pop-up spray heads watering a shrub bed; set the timer to water for five minutes at 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.  This will result in the station watering a total of 20 minutes per week.

Keep up the Maintenance on Your Sprinklers

o    Sprinkler Maintenance:  Inspect each sprinkler station for broken, bent or misaligned sprinklers and repair as necessary.  If replacing sprinkler heads or nozzles, always use the same brand and specific device model.  This will ensure the watering is even across the lawn.

o    Drip Line Maintenance:  Inspect drip lines for small breaks, missing emitters or other problems. Breaks in drip lines can waste a significant amount of water because we generally run our drip lines for long periods of time.  If you need to replace broken drip emitters, it is best to pull out the broken emitter and replace it with a goof plug.  Then install a new drip emitter a few inches away.  And remember to purchase the same type of emitter as you have on the rest of the line.  Repairing holes and other breaks in drip lines is fairly easy.  We found a good video that explains how to repair a broken drip line.

Let us Know When You See Water Being Wasted

o    If you observe obvious water waste, please let us know so we can contact the property owner. Since April 1, we’ve received more than 200 complaints about water waste. In all but a few of them, one contact was all that was needed to get the problem solved. In those exceptions, all it took was a follow up call, and the problem was solved.

o    Please have the following information when you contact us:

  • Address or specific location of the water waste:
  • Description of water waste:
  • Date and time when you observed the water waste and note if this is a re-occurring event.

Call:  925-688-8044 or send us an e-mail .

If you believe the water waste is an immediate emergency, and it is after normal work hours, call the Districts’ after hours control room at 925-688-8374

Here’s a complete list of prohibited wasteful watering practices. 

Water Saving Programs & Classes

Planning To Remove Your Lawn? Our New Web Resource Can Help

  • We have a new and very complete web resource that will help you every step along the way, and ensure you get your rebate of up to $1,000.

    In addition, we’ve introduced a new Landscape Design Assistance Program to help our Lawn to Garden Rebate Program participants develop ideas to transform their water-thirsty front lawns into beautiful water-wise gardens.  The Design Program provides for a two-hour consultation with a professional landscape designer for the front lawn area removed.  Participants pay the designer a $150 fee at the time of service, and are reimbursed by CCWD when their lawn to garden conversion project is successfully completed.

Lose the Lawn, Get a Garden Workshop

  • CCWD and the Gardens at Heather Farm are offering a free workshop on Saturday August 23, from 9 a.m. to noon to help homeowners learn the basics of how to convert their water-thirsty front lawns into water-wise landscapes.  The workshop will include an introduction on how to design and choose plants, drip irrigation basics, successful lawn conversion stories and information on the CCWD Lawn to Garden Rebate Program.  For more information visit the Workshop Web Page.

The Ruth Bancroft Garden

Several free workshops are offered by the Ruth Bancroft Garden for members only.  To become a member is inexpensive and the benefits are great.  Upcoming member only workshops include:  Introduction to Irrigation, Succulent Troubleshooting, and Soil Basics.  In October, there will be a two-day Lawn to Native Garden workshop. For information and cost on this workshop visit the Ruth Bancroft Garden Website.


Multiple Watering Times July 19, 2014 at 6:11 PM

The multiple watering times work great if you have a slope that contributes to water running off before it can soak in, but on my flat lawn it actually made it worse. I found a lot was evaporating, from wind, as it sat on top of the lawn between waterings. When I combined it back to one watering it made it farther down into the soil.

Atticus Thraxx July 19, 2014 at 8:05 PM

We’re hunkered down now. Blinds closed, lights off. Wife is putting batteries in the night vision goggles while I setup the ladder out back. No panic, we’ve been thru this before. Just have to hope the training kicks in. Tonight we are setting up an OP on the roof. 360 degree field of fire. I swear to you if so much as a drop of any of my neighbors sprinklers hits the sidewalk we’re on the phone. Bam!
Be vigilant fellow citizens, trust no one.

Always Right July 19, 2014 at 9:12 PM

Plenty of water in Los Vaqueros. No mandatory water reductions needed this year.

Thanks to the prudence of the citizens of Claycord (building a large reservoir) we are sitting pretty.

Keep the lawns green. Just follow the simple common sense restrictions.

Horse n around July 20, 2014 at 7:13 AM

@ Atticus, LOL That made my day. 🙂

RANDOM TASK July 20, 2014 at 5:52 PM

wow a willowpass waste story and now a story about reduction and fines on the way


Silva July 20, 2014 at 9:08 PM

It’s never occured to me to water multiple times. It sounds like a good idea. Maybe my system will do that. I’m going to check.

Michelle(original) July 20, 2014 at 10:51 PM

Atticus, that’s funny, thanks. 🙂

Anon July 21, 2014 at 7:29 AM

We have a person in Dana Estates that is watering their lawn every morning for an hour and every evening for an hour, 7 days per week.

Michelle(original) July 21, 2014 at 7:51 AM

There’s a lot of people in Clayton, watering their lawn every day–the police need to deal with this right away before everyone else’s water bill goes up around Claycord.

Connie Dobbs July 21, 2014 at 7:52 AM

#8 You should probably burn their house down. It would take their mind off the lawn.

Antler July 21, 2014 at 8:19 AM

Our sprinkler system cycles twice through its 8-minute sprays each night. The secret is to do the watering at NIGHT so the lawn and plants are in “slurp” mode…and so that you are not losing so much water to evaporation.

If your soil is not accepting the water right away, there are both liquid and granulated products you can apply to make it more friable. Plus, there are companies which come out and aerate the lawn by taking small cylinders of soil out….”plugs” out ….. every few inches. Wally’s might have rental equipment if you want to tackle this job yourself. Nichole, our Garden Girl at
“R&M” in Clayton, would be able to give you very practical advice about products, etc..

Antler July 21, 2014 at 8:33 AM

Just a reminder to everyone in Dana Sector that Atticus’s squadron of cats DOES fly at night!

Atticus, have you and your wife laid in a supply of homemade brownies for whichever agent is standing watch at roof altitude? And a basket and pulley system for sending supplies up and down? Better alert CPD to ignore any neighbors reporting a Peeping Tom up on your roof, too.

Got a huge kick out of your post….. Thank you! 🙂

Marianne July 21, 2014 at 9:01 AM

Connie, that’s not a bad idea, but there is a shortage of firemen, and I understand layoffs are going to happen soon.

Was told July 21, 2014 at 9:32 AM

never to water at night, causes mold in the lawn. Best time is really morning.

Antler July 21, 2014 at 10:17 AM

Was told… #14 ……
Our sprinkler’s cycling begins at about 3a (“night” equals “dark” to me…sorry if I mislead) …….. so that the water has thoroughly soaked down into the soil before dawn. We have been here in this house for 50 years now….no problems with mold.

Antler July 21, 2014 at 10:18 AM

…..if I misLED. sorry, folks….

Silva July 21, 2014 at 10:21 AM

#14, It’s true, For me the benefit of watering at night outweighs the risk. I do have to use a bit of fungicide spray on some plants, then some I have to use it on never get their leaves wet at all.

Buck Million July 21, 2014 at 11:40 AM

I know a lot of people are on PG&E’s CARE program that reduces your bill by up to 20% a month. To qualify your household has to make 31,000 or less. And, this automatically qualifies you for PG&E’s Energy Savings Assistance Program (ESA). Here’s what they did for me. They reseal all your doors that lead outside including the door that leads to garage. Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent ones. If you have one of the older halogen torch lamps they will replace with a new 3-way fluorescent torch lamp. They did one for me. They seal all you light switches and outlets, they check all your gas appliances (Furnace, hot water heater.) If they find any problems they will send someone out to fix them, possibly replace them.They fixed my vent on my hot water heater. They check your attic for insulation and will install insulation it if you don’t have any.They will replace up to 3 ceiling incandescent light fixtures with new fluorescent ones. I had 2 replaced and they are bright.. They also help you out with water conservation. They will replace up to three showere heads with stationary ones or hand held ones. I had both of mine replaced. They also will add a valve to it that stops the flow of water when it reaches around 98 degrees so you dont waste water while warming up your shower. When you are ready to get in you just pull a cord releasing it . It resets automatically after water is turned off. They put water saving faucet heads on all your faucets And where your plumbing goes through the wall under your sink, they seal all those up. I saved the best for last. If your refrigerator is more than 15 years old and mine is they will replace it with a brand new one, install it and take the old one away! My new 21 Cubic foot Frigidaire comes next Tuesday. Comes with the kit for ice maker but no ice maker. You can get any color you want providing its white. The only criteria for this is that the one they are replacing is your main household refer (Not one in the garage) in your kitchen that is in operating condition that is plugged into a grounded outlet. If its not grounded PG&E will come before the refer and install one

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