Almanac

News - March 5, 2014

Portola Valley forms panel on water conservation

by Barbara Wood

As one of the few rainstorms of the season splattered down outside, Portola Valley's Town Council at its Feb. 26 meeting voted to form a special committee to help the town conserve water.

"It's a huge issue and I think it's going to be an ongoing issue," said Mayor Ann Wengert.

She urged that once the ad hoc Water Conservation Task Force comes up with a plan for how the town can save water that they also come up with a list of other water-related issues the town should address such as gray water use, capture of rain water, and pumping of water from wells and creeks.

"I can certainly see that if the fight worsens, meaning that there are fewer resources available, we may be pulled into those issues," Mayor Wengert said.

The task force will be made up of members of the town's sustainability and conservation committees and other interested residents as well as outside experts in water conservation.

Brandi de Garmeaux, the town's sustainability and special projects manager, said the Sustainability Committee had been concentrated on working to make the town more energy efficient while also working on some water conservation projects.

"The drought increased the urgency and brought water conservation to the forefront," she said. "This is a perfect time to make a meaningful impact on the issue."

The town will advertise for committee members and plans to appoint them in March.

Included in the tasks the committee will be asked to undertake are a community forum on water conservation, a list of ways residents and businesses can save water, updates to the town website and recommendations on how the town can encourage water conservation.

The committee's work is expected to last about six months, but could end up being reconstituted at that time or made an ongoing town committee.

The formation of the task force and its charter were unanimously approved by the council.

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