East Bay restrictions are difficult for some

May 15, 2008 7:32:20 PM PDT
This week, East Bay MUD announced mandatory water rationing for its 1.3 million customers. Many will have to cut back their water usage by as much as one-third. The challenge may prove to be the most difficult for those who are already conserving.

Oakland's Sandy Turnbull doesn't need East Bay MUD to tell her to conserve. For Turnbull, water conservation has been a way of life for more than 15 years.

"This has been a great feature. What it is, is a Grundy device that helps circulate the water through the plumbing," said Turnbull referring to a device mounted on top of her water heater.

Turnbull even figured out a way to use the polymers from water-soaked disposable diapers to help hydrate the root bulbs the drought resistant plants in her yard.

"You can get a lot of water efficiency out of this gooey weird product," says Turnbull.

Turnbull's family of four averages just 120 gallons of water usage per day. Now, East Bay MUD is requiring all its residential customers to cut back 19 percent.

"We're up for it if the person in Contra Costa County spending $1,200 a month is willing to cut back theirs too," said Sandy Turnbull, an Oakland resident.

Chris Donton works for Aqua Conserve, a company that makes high-tech irrigation equipment for businesses and homes.

"What they do is they manufacture controllers that adjust by themselves by current weather conditions," said Donton. "We do it with an onsite weather sensor, temperature sensor, and rain sensor.

Donton claims this equipment can help clients cut their water usage for landscaping by as much as 80 percent.

Golf courses served by East Bay MUD must cut their usage by 30 percent, right now.

During the dry months her at Oakland's Sequoyah Country Club, the golf course alone uses an average of 250,000 gallons of water per day. It's an amount they'll be cutting back severely starting immediately.

"We'll keep our normal watering schedules on the greens and the tees, and on landing areas and the fairways and then on the outer perimeter of each hole, we'll basically turn the water off," says Terry Grasso, Sequoyah Country Club's greens superintendent.

Grasso says Sequoyah will still be quite playable this summer, even if it looks a little brown around the edges.


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