CONCORD -- With the severe drought showing no sign of abating and the water district asking customers to cut back, Concord has reduced its water use by 37 percent, according to city officials.

"Since 2009, which was the last time drought restrictions were put in place here in Concord, the city has worked really hard to reduce its water use," Public Works Director Justin Ezell told the City Council recently.

Concord gets its water from the Contra Costa Water District, which has asked its customers to voluntarily reduce water consumption by 15 percent.

"We looked at our historical water use and we compared to our current water use and found that we have actually cut back our water use by 37 percent," Ezell said.

The city's water use has reduced its water consumption from about 143 million gallons per year to 90 million gallons per year, according to Ezell.

The city's conservation strategies include retrofitting inefficient toilets, sinks and other restroom fixtures in public buildings; installing irrigation controllers that automatically adjust based on the weather; replacing grass with drought-tolerant plants; identifying and repairing leaks; and irrigating with non-potable water drawn from wells or recycled from other sources.

For the past five years, Concord has been working with the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District to install recycled water main lines to irrigate the medians in the area around Diamond Boulevard, Meridian Park Boulevard and Burnett Avenue, Ezell said. The lines are in place and the sanitary district has been training public works employees on working with recycled water.


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The city also has installed a purple fire hydrant in the neighborhood that will deliver recycled water to street sweepers and other city equipment, Ezell added.

As long as drought conditions persist, the city will continue to monitor its water use and maintain the conservation strategies, Ezell said. Concord will employ additional measures if the water district calls for mandatory reductions, he added.

"Congratulations to you and to your staff in public works for their creativity and measures to save water," Mayor Tim Grayson said.

Lisa P. White covers Concord and Pleasant Hill. Contact her at 925-943-8011. Follow her at Twitter.com/lisa_p_white.