Water Conservation Measure-Drought Response

The staff of the Parks Division of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Waterfront responded to the state-wide drought emergency by saving water. Parks Division staff reduced water consumption by 46% in 2014 and 48% in 2015 compared to the 2013 (EBMUD) baseline levels, for a total of 39,160,000 gallons saved in 2015. Parks staff saved water by shutting off water to all public landscaped street medians, reducing or stopping water to all non-essential turf grass areas, repairing leaks promptly, reducing irrigation frequency to sports fields, increasing the use of mulch, limiting pressure washing to cleaning for health and safety only, monitoring use records for spikes in use (leaks), reducing vehicle washing, and making facility improvements.

 The environmental benefits of water savings are profound and crucial to sustainability even during years when there is no drought emergency. It is more sustainable to have landscapes that require less water, especially in a region such as ours that receives little rainfall May through August. Some environmental benefits include more available drinking water as well as more water to sustain or enhance wildlife habitat. Also, less water use often results in reduced plant growth which, in turn, results in less need to use carbon dioxide emitting equipment such as gas powered mowers to cut turf.