Palo Alto residents can expect water-use regulations and water-saving ethics to persist despite the heavy downpours in the recent months as recommended by the city.
Palo Alto’s water supply is largely dependent on the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, SFPUC, which receives its water through the Hetch-Hetchy reservoir and distribution system in California’s Yosemite National Park.
Catherine Elvert, Palo Alto Utilities Communication Manager, said that Palo Alto is currently at a zero percent water conservation target due to the recent weather. “State resources have been filling up and they’ve been brimming with water,” Elvert said. “Reservoirs up in the Sierra Nevada are in a pretty good shape.”
However, Elvert, along with the Palo Alto Utility Department believe that the practice of saving water should be practiced on a day to day basis. “We like to remind people that regardless of drought conditions, California itself is perpetually in a semi arid state,” Elvert said. “San Francisco voluntarily sets goals to conserve at least 10 percent [of their water]…[in order to] maintain a water supply for a multi year drought we have permanent water use regulations.”
Regarding the numerous state and city regulations concerning lawn and garden maintenance, Elvert advocates taking little actions like purchasing native plants that are water-conservation friendly and irrigating your garden only when necessary rather than following a predetermined and often unnecessary schedule.
To ensure the safety of residents during rainy months, Elvert recommends a number of convenient sources. These include signing up for alertSCC, an emergency alert system used throughout the Santa Clara County that sends warnings through text messages, along with the Palo Alto Police Department’s twitter @PaloAltoPolice, to receive regular storm and flood updates.