Water Conservation PR 1-16-2014
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Foster City / EMID Encouraging Water Conservation in View of Potential Drought Situation
For Immediate Release: January 16, 2014
Contact: 'Andra Lorenz, Management Analyst, 650-286-3215, alorenz@fostercity.org

Policymakers in Foster City are encouraging the public to keep up the efforts to conserve water. This message comes at a time when agencies may be considering additional measures to conserve water due to extremely low rainfall over the past three years.

The City of Foster City / Estero Municipal Improvement District, which provides water to Foster City and the Mariner's Island neighborhood of San Mateo, recently received a preliminary report about the water supply at the Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System at a meeting of the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency (BAWSCA), a coalition of local agencies that negotiates with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) for the purchase of water. This report indicated that water supplies are currently at 72% of capacity at a time of year that they should be nearly full. The water supply has shown a declining trend over the past twelve months and precipitation has been well below average in the last three months with no forecast for significant weather changes. Statewide snow water (the amount of water stored in the snow pack) is roughly 20% of average. 

The final report is expected to be released in April. Based on the final report, the SFPUC could formally declare a water shortage emergency and declare the need for voluntary or mandatory rationing. If rationing is required, Foster City and its customers will have to keep water use within a smaller water supply allocation or pay stiff penalties and fines for the additional water used. Water use will be tracked closely on a monthly basis.

In 2007, the SFPUC asked for voluntary water use reductions of 10% due to the lack of precipitation. Water storage and supply levels in 2014 are even lower than they were in 2007.

Foster City implemented Conservation-Based Water Rates in 2009 to encourage the whole community to conserve in order to ensure adequate water supply for all customers. At that time, goal was set of 15-20% community-wide water conservation by 2020.

As of March 2013, residential consumption in Foster City was down 8.8% and irrigation consumption had fallen by 17%. Nearly $300,000 in conservation rebates and educational programs has been distributed.

The City has been very pleased with the response of the community to the need for water conservation and would like to help achieve even higher levels of water savings. Rebates are available for residences and businesses, for both domestic and irrigation uses. For more information about rebates, follow the link below.

The City will continue to release more information about the water supply as it becomes available.

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