San Leandro prepares for water shortage due to drought

Nick Cheng,
Assistant Politics Editor

During Monday’s city council meeting, Director of Public Works Debbie Pollant announced that in responce to the statewide drought, the city of San Leandro is considering shutting down city fountains, watering city lawns every three days and using well water for street sweeping.

Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a drought state of emergency for California.  Pollart presented updates to a memo from 2008, the last time the city was faced with potential drought.

“We have installed smart irrigation clocks at the city’s urging,” said Pollart. “The Pacific sports fields agreed to install ‘smart clocks’ on their sprinklers to better conserve water.”

These facilities, which used to rely on potable water, now have access to wells. There is also a lateral pipe to service the San Leandro ballpark.

Several wells are maintained to serve city parks.  The Senior Community Center and downtown garage use modern conservation methods, such as water saving aspects for irrigation and water saving features in senior center bathrooms.

Pollart presented ideas to the council, such as replacing lawns with dry landscaping outside of civic buildings.

“We continue to look for funding to expand our ability to use reclaimed water,” said Pollart.  She pointed out a city project that aimed to expand piping from the water plant down to Stenzel Park, but was not implemented due to cost.

San Leandro practices “bay-friendly” landscaping, she said, which is meant to reduce pollution and water use in design, construction and city maintenance.

“We’ve tightened up our practices,” said Pollart. “Working with a landscaping contractor to keep watering in the evenings and not to overwater, causing it to run off into the streets.”

Pollart reminded the staff earlier in the meeting that there is reclaimed water from the pollution control plant that can be used on golf courses. “Ninety-five percent of our golf courses are watered with reclaimed water.

Pollart was not aware of the exact figure of how much water is conserved annually through the use of water wells and reclaimed water. She noted that while the city has been reducing water use, it did not realize a monetary savings due to 46.25 percent in rate hikes by East Bay Municipal Utility District since fiscal 2010.