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Message from the Mayor – Drought State of Emergency

Post Date:02/06/2014 8:00 AM


Message from the Mayor – Drought State of Emergency

Town SealOn Friday, January 17, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought state of emergency. While the state of emergency does not specifically include San Mateo County, the Governor called on all Californians to voluntarily reduce their water use by 20 percent. In 2014, two of the Town’s highest priorities are water conservation and fire prevention. We are working closely with Cal Water (Portola Valley’s water utility) to understand the situation and provide information to residents.

Cal Water has indicated to the Town that its water systems are prepared to meet customer demand through 2014; however, even in non-drought years, Cal Water supports water use reductions to meet the goal of a 20% reduction by 2020, as required by State law. Although the utility does not anticipate mandatory water use restrictions at this time, it does encourage customers to continue taking steps to use water more efficiently.

There is room for us to do more, together, as a community. In Portola Valley, we use approximately 262% more water than the Bay Area residential average of 78 gallons per person per day (source: BAWSCA FY 2011-12 Annual Survey). In 2012, our residential water use increased to 283 gallons per person per day from 251 in 2011 (source: Cal Water). A taskforce of volunteers from the Sustainability Committee and Conservation Committee has been asked to look at this issue in further depth and to make recommendations to the Town Council on what we can do to have the most impact.

Cal Water will closely monitor the situation, as conditions could change if the lack of precipitation continues over the next few months. Initial voluntary efforts will help us to avoid or delay mandatory restrictions. For more information on what you can do NOW to reduce your water use, visit Cal Water’s webpage ( Thank you in advance for your cooperation.


Ann Wengert
Mayor, Town of Portola Valley

Excerpt from the Governor’s Proclamation (
“We can’t make it rain, but we can be much better prepared for the terrible consequences that California’s drought now threatens, including dramatically less water for our farms and communities and increased fires in both urban and rural areas,” said Governor Brown. “I’ve declared this emergency and I’m calling all Californians to conserve water in every way possible.”


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