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Sierra mist

Submitted by on 1, March 3, 2009 – 7:45 amNo Comment

img_1010Yeah, it’s raining. (And raining.) But the Governator just declared a drought-related state of emergency. What gives? As I’ve learned over the last few weeks of deep weather-related analysis, the enormous puddle that forms on the sidewalk in front of my house each rainy day doesn’t translate into a water restriction-free summer. (Drat.)

Most of the water we use here in Alameda comes from the Mokelumne River, which originates in the Sierras, and dump into two reservoirs. (The rest comes from spots around the East Bay.) And while February was a wet month, it’ll take a lot of snow and rain to fill those after two dry years. As of Monday the snowpack was at 80 percent of normal; the reservoirs were at 37 percent (Camanche) and 89 percent (Pardee) of normal.

We are allowed to use up to 325 million gallons of water a day from the Mokelumne, by the way; as of 2006, we averaged 211 million gallons of water per day.

I guess we’ll find out more next month about any additional water restrictions. In the meantime, the folks at the East Bay Municipal Utility District are working on a new water management plan for the next 30 years. Their preferred plan includes a rationing level of 10 percent, conservation and recycling efforts that would save 50 million gallons of water a day and a bevy of efforts to supplement the utility’s water supply.

They’ll talk about it at EBMUD HQ in Oakland from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. March 18.

Oh, and here’s a quick note on EBMUD’s water restrictions: Per John Knox White over at Stop, Drop and Roll, Alameda cut its water usage by a higher usage than any other city in Alameda County. Kudos!

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