Table of Contents and Summary of Recommendations

1. Conservation Pricing

1. Water budgets for all landscape accounts. Higher price tiers for exceeding the water budget.

2. Price landscape water at Block 3 rates.

3. Tiered pricing for other customer classes besides single family residential.

4. Increase the price signal by making the tier steps steeper. (Increase the price increment for each tier.)

5. Implement tiers in the fixed charge

6.  The marginal cost of new water supplies (or new conservation investments) should be charged to the highest tiers


2.  Water-Neutral Development

  1. Adopt a water-neutral growth policy in which developers fund conservation programs that aren’t already funded by ratepayers.


3.  Building Code Revisions and Onsite Water Systems

  1. Form a working group to consider building code revisions that include onsite water systems.


4.  Climate Appropriate Landscaping

Investigate the cost/benefit of the following:

  1. Revise the water budget allotments.
  2. Water budgets for all landscape accounts not just the current large landscape accounts.
  3. Price landscape water at Block 3 rates.
  4. Co-sponsor community efforts to promote climate-appropriate landscaping
  5. Offer a free checkout of drip systems and training on how to use irrigation controllers.
  6. Offer free greywater and rainwater evaluations for every property that receives City water.
  7.  Increase rebate incentive to convert lawn and shrub spray irrigation heads, including drip micro-spray heads, to drip tubing.


5.  Beyond Curtailment


  1. City should partner with schools and community organizations to do hands-on watershed restoration work and teach water conservation practices such as rainwater catchment, graywater recycling, climate-appropriate landscaping, and safe use of composting toilets.
  2. Adopt the following feedback strategies:
  • Change the customer bills so that quantity of water is in gallons instead of ccf.
  • Adopt “Water-Smart” type billing feedback, informing customers about meeting targets for fish habitat and reservoir levels.
  • Publish in local media information about the goals v. actual water consumption, reservoir levels, and stream flow targets.
  • Contract with a company offering a mobile/internet application to monitor a customer’s water meter.  E.g.
  • Explore partnering with Aquajust, a company whose software enables buying and selling customer water allotments.


6.  Timely and Adequate Demand Management in Dry Years

  1. The City should establish a policy of timely demand management in response to dry conditions that will enable adequate storage for future dry years.


7.  Aquifer Restoration Via Inter-District Collaboration

  1. The City should commit to aquifer restoration as a principal strategy to prepare for climate change.


8.  Water Supply Infrastructure

The City should conduct an evaluation of the cost, benefit, feasibility and environmental impact of the following:

1.  Aquifer recharge with potable water.


2. Aquifer recharge on North Coast.


3. Adding a new water treatment facility—possibly at Bay St. reservoir.


4. Wells to tap Santa Margarita Aquifer in Live Oak area


5. Relocate the main San Lorenzo River diversion upstream


6. Accelerate the replacement of old pipes in the distribution system


9. Watershed Restoration

  1. The City should conduct a cost/benefit analysis of funding stormwater infiltration projects in groundwater recharge zones.
  2. It is recommended that the City convene a joint effort with Scotts Valley Water District and San Lorenzo Valley Water District to contract with the California Conservation Corps to engage in watershed restoration, including restoration of roads; storm water infiltration projects; and partnering with schools and community groups to do restoration.


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