City of Concord Drought Management Plan
Information for residents
The City of Concord and its residents receive water from the Contra Costa Water District (CCWD). Following Governor Jerry Brown's Executive Order earlier this year, the CCWD was required to reduce drinkable water use by 28%. The CCWD Board of Directors adopted a 2015 Drought Program, which calls on residential customers to reduce water use by 25% and irrigation customers, such as the City, to reduce water use by 45% from 2013 use. Residents should consult the CCWD website for more information.
Contra Costa Water District Website
What's the City doing to meet its water reduction mandate?
For many years, the City has employed responsible water management principles and practices. Inefficient fixtures in public buildings are routinely replaced with efficient ones; landscape irrigation controllers are replaced with ones that automatically adjust to real-time weather data; water wasting medians and other landscape areas are reconstructed using plantings which have lower water needs.
The City has adopted a drought management plan that strives to achieve preservation of existing landscapes and assures that sports and athletic fields remain safe and available for team play while meeting the 45% target. The following strategies demonstrate the City's commitment to meet mandatory targets while acknowledging the needs and desires of the community.
Drought Management Strategies
Reduced watering schedules: Public Works has reduced median and park irrigation to two times per week in accordance with the mandatory watering restrictions. Certain exceptions have been discussed with the Contra Costa Water District (CCWD) including an allowance to irrigate athletic fields up to four times per week.
Turf in medians: Ornamental turf grass is located in a limited number of locations throughout the City. Irrigation to these areas has been completely turned off. Staff is drafting a plan and estimating the costs to convert these areas to drought tolerant landscaping. Staff will apply for rebates through CCWD once plans are complete and funding has been identified.
Unplanted medians: Medians and streetscapes that are not already landscaped will be left unplanted until the drought passes. The only exceptions to this element of the strategy are plantings which are necessary to meet state requirements (e.g. bio swales).
Landscape Water Use Reports: Staff worked with CCWD to create water budgets for City medians, streetscapes and parks using domestic potable water sources. Water budgets provide the best methodology for identifying and maximizing landscape irrigation efficiency. The budgets are created using site specific characteristics and real time weather conditions. Water budgets will assist the City in ensuring the most efficient use of water in parks and medians.
Water meters: Park Maintenance staff will read water meters at City parks on a weekly basis. Doing so will assist staff in staying at or below the 45% reduction target. This is not feasible in City medians because of the significantly high volume of median island water meters which are spread throughout the City.
Priority areas: Staff has identified active and passive turf areas at City parks. Irrigation in passive areas such as turf bordering athletic fields, playgrounds and buildings, and strips of turf grass in planting areas between sidewalk and curb, will be significantly reduced or turned off completely. Active areas which mostly consist of athletic fields but also include some areas based on safety, use, and plant replacement cost, will be given priority watering schedules. Staff will monitor water usage and make adjustments to stay at or below the 45% reduction target.
Fountains: The City will continue to keep the recirculating fountains located at Todos Santos Plaza and Civic Center decommissioned.
Use of non-drinkable well water: Though the new regulations do not specifically mandate the reduction of well water use, the City will reduce watering schedules at public spaces using well water with the goal of achieving a 25% reduction. Continuing to irrigate as if the drought does not exist sends the wrong message. Reducing groundwater use is a symbol of respect and its sets a leading example for the community to follow. The reduction target includes groundwater use at the Diablo Creek Golf Course.
Public spaces using well water:
- Baldwin Park
- BART Linear Park
- BART Park
- Brazil Quarry Park
- Cambridge Park
- Civic Center
- Dave Brubeck Park
- Diablo Creek Golf Course
- George Krueger Fields
- Hillcrest Park
- BART Linear Park
- Meadow Homes Park
- Newhall Park
- Todos Santos Plaza
- Willow Pass Park
- Ygnacio Valley Park
Best management practices: Staff will employ best management practices such as the addition of mulch to medians and shrub areas to preserve soil moisture, and water leaks in the City's public spaces will be identified and repaired as quickly as possible
Recycled water: The City has access to a recycled water fill station. Equipment utilizing water (e.g. street sweepers and tree watering trucks) will be filled with recycled water at the beginning of work shifts and when feasible throughout the day. Additionally, several medians are irrigated with recycled water and staff continues working with the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District (CCCSD) to expand CCCSD's recycled water distribution system to provide recycled water for irrigation in landscape medians.
Increased Monitoring: The Concord Police Department will alert Public Works of water issues at parks, medians and other City facilities. Issues will typically be observed by PD night patrol staff. Examples include broken or missing sprinkler heads, broken lines and overwatering.
Spray Park: The spray park hours have been reduced and the facility opened later in the year. The Spray Park is designed to clean and recycle the water it uses.
City buildings: Staff will continue installing water efficient fixtures in City buildings to reduce water usage while taking advantage of available rebates through CCWD.
Education: Messages highlighting City efforts to conserve water will be communicated from the City Manager's Office through stories in newsletters, emails to staff and the public, the City's website, Public Service Announcements on Concord Cable TV and the placement of signage around City facilities and other public spaces.