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April 04, 2015



One thing the City of Burlingame could do to make residents more aware of how much water they are using is to make the water bills easier to read. For example, rather than listing previous water usage in 100s of gallons, just say how many gallons (4900 vs 49). Also, perhaps they could divide total gallons used per billing cycle by days per billing cycle so you could see how many gallons your household is using per day (Maybe even a graph!). Also, using red for when a household's usage increases and blue for when it decreases. When you're just trying to plow through paying your bills at the end of long day, it's hard to take the time to really understand how much water you're using. Making our city water bills more user-friendly would be a real benefit to those of us who want to cut down on our water use. I currently use a spreadsheet to track all this. There has got to be a better way.

Bruce Dickinson

Guys, I gotta say, what is going on in Hillsborough that requires so much water? Not to cast any stones, Bruce Dickinson knows first hand that a 4,200 sq ft house in Burlingame Park on a double lot has a larger carbon and water footprint than average, but there is no way I'm even close to using 250 gallons per person per day. Hell, normalized for acreage, my Anderson Valley winery is using less water per day for irrigation.

Of course at my Burlingame house, besides me and my wife, we usually have a guest over (one of our children with grandchildren) or one of my many friends hopping into town to say "hi" (the proximity to SFO seems to be a magnet for that sorta thing) and my secretary Julie who comes in on most days, my groundskeeper guy who comes twice a week, cleaning lady/laundry lady, who comes 3x per week, so on average we have about the equivalent of 5-6 adults at the Dickinson house at any given time, not to mention the grandkids, who have now graduated from diapers and are now using toilets regularly. I also have a pool and jacuzzi, which we have to fill up every week. We are not using 1,000 gallons per day, that is insane!

It's time that Hillsborough be weaned off the water teat, so to speak. I'm gonna poll my dozens Hillsborough friends and find out how much water they're using and if it's too much, they may be in for a lecture of Dickinsonean proportions, as it were.

Regardless, good job Burlingame for getting to 27% less usage per capita, we are one of the few cities that has done this, but this does not surprise me, as people in this town do care quite a bit about the environment and social consciousness issues, I have noticed. That's another thing that makes Bruce Dickinson proud to be a Burlingamer!


You had to figure it would not take long for the papers to start demonizing the rich people. The Merc is first

But across the bay, the compact yards of Fremont, Union City and Newark, decorated with "We're Doing Our Part to Conserve" placards, may be watered only once a week in the early spring. Violators get letters, phone calls and even a stern knock on the door.

In Woodside, water use is high and conservation efforts are lackluster. In Fremont, water use is modest and residents were among the tiny percentage of California communities that hit Brown's previous voluntary target of 20 percent -- without resorting to rationing, as some California cities have done.

This tale of two cities offers stark insights into the cultural, economic and policy differences in the use of a single shared resource -- as well as lessons about how to quickly meet Brown's order last week to reduce consumption 25 percent by the summer. Cities and water districts that don't comply will be fined $10,000 a day.


"There has got to be an attitudinal shift," said Debbie Mendelson, of Woodside, who last July pleaded with her Town Council to enact a "Water Conservation Plan" -- a plan that, eight months later, has yet to be completed.

"I care about my town," she said. "But we use an obscene amount of water."


From the DJ article today regarding the revised tiers from the state:

The state considered summer 2014 water use to categorize different cities and utilities into conservation tiers that outline needing to cut 2013 levels by either 8 percent, 12 percent, 16 percent, 20 percent, 24 percent, 28 percent, 32 percent or 36 percent.

The water board also outlined how much various agencies have already cut back, illustrating who’s been adapting to the drought the longest.

Cities or utilities that have already met and must main their conservation target include the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and the California Water Service Company South San Francisco having both reached an 8 percent reduction.

Cities that have exceeded their targets include San Bruno, which has hit its 8 percent goal by conserving 9 percent; Daly City and Redwood City, which are required to cut back 8 percent and have each reduced 14 percent; Menlo Park, which has reached 27 percent and is ordered to reduce by 16 percent; and Burlingame, which has met its 16 percent target by conserving 17 percent since 2013.

The open question is how is growth accounted for in the water quota? If we build at the Drive-in, Cammisa Motors, Lots F & N and a couple other places that have multi-unit plans, the water consumption will rise substantially.

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