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Residents may see rationing

By Lorenzo Morotti, associate editor
On February 17, 2014

On Jan. 17, Gov. Jerry Brown issued a Calif. state of water emergency that urged residents to cut back water consumption by 20 percent after experiencing the state's driest year in recorded history.
"The drought won't effect students too much," Buildings and Grounds Manager Bruce King said. "The landscape will be stressed and we could lose some plant life."
Last year, Contra Costa College used 16,964,671 gallons of water and Diablo Valley College used 29,888,234 gallons from East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) according to information compiled by Contra Costa Community College District Energy Manager David Vaznaik.
"All the water we get from EBMUD is purified and safe to drink," King said.
A lot of the water that is used at CCC is to maintain the Soccer, Baseball and Softball fields, King said. He said that each time they have to water the fields, about 30,000 gallons of water are fed through the sprinkler systems. King said the weather determines exactly how often the fields are watered.
To decrease the upkeep costs of the fields, a well was dug five years ago during the 2008-09 California water crisis.
"The well feeds all athletic fields that need it, and if it doesn't run dry it can save us a heck of a lot of money," King said.
Vaznaik said that the increase of water consumption on campus this month could possibly be due to the recent demolition of the Humanities and Student Activities buildings on campus. Purified water that is being pumped through hoses for "dust suppression."  
The water usage report provided to CCC by the EBMUD for January 2014 shows 1,140,700 gallons of water have already been consumed by the college ­- roughly 36,767 gallons per day.
Last January, only 225,148 gallons of water were consumed on campus, or 6,822 a day. Water usage on campus has increased tremendously since last year.
The Pardee Reservoir is located in the Mokelumne River water shed in the Sierra Nevada. It supplies the East Bay with 90 percent of its water.
This area recently received more than 6 inches of rainfall since Friday, bringing precipitation levels in the area up to more than 13 inches.
"Though the storms were welcome," Public Information Representative for EBMUD Nelsy Rodriguez said, "EBMUD needs additional rain and snow over the next few months to replenish reservoirs."
She said while they certainly encourage customers to ration water there is no need for customers to be concerned about not having enough water to drink.
Rodriguez said, should the Pardee drop to a critically low level, EBMUD could ask for additional water conservation, supplement water supplies with the Sacramento River via Freeport, or attempt to purchase water from another agency. Whether any of those methods happen would be up to the board of directors, she said.
Many campuses in our district, especially CCC and Diablo Valley College are located in a Wildland Urban Interface (WUI). A WUI is defined in the Community Wildfire Protection Plan for Contra Costa County, prepared by the Diablo Fire Safety Council, as an area where urban environments border a natural landscape. If dry conditions continue into the summer months, wildfires may become a major concern for people living in these WUI areas.
Without adequate amounts of precipitation, brush fires can become a major concern for the district come the summer months.
Water usage at CCC for June and July of last year was 5,986,992 gallons according to Vazniak's water usage records.  


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