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Comments for City's Water Policy study session on June 3, 2014

From: domainremoved <Allan>
Date: Tue, 3 Jun 2014 11:53:40 -0700

Dear City Council Members

I’m a resident in Menlo and a member of the Menlo Park Environmental
Quality Commission (EQC). I’m requesting that the City establish a
municipal water policy linked with other jurisdictions.

Because of my proximity to Nealon Park, I’m recused as an EQC member from
directly commenting or involvement in the Nealon Park well proposal. As a
result, my comments below do not address that proposal.

As we enter this year’s historic drought the City of Menlo Park needs a
comprehensive city water policy. I commend the Council on its foresight to
have this study session on the City's Water Policy. I speak not only as an
EQC member and resident of the city, I also speak as a former state agency
head who oversaw water resources for 16 million residents in the state of
Florida, managing five regional water districts experiencing dramatic
growth and dwindling water resources.

First, I want to thank Ruben Nino and Pam Lowe for their overview of water
use in Menlo Park.

As highlighted in the staff report, we’ll learn in June whether the city
will have a mandatory or voluntary allocation reduction. This may not be
the only allocation reduction the city receives this year. As you saw in
the report, a 20% allotment reduction would create a 27% water shortage in
Menlo Park. With that in mind, I have the following three recommendations
to quickly implement a water policy that manages water shortfalls and water
use in the city:

   1. The City establish a water resource management plan that establishes
   a criteria system to prioritize use for all water resources available to
   Menlo Park residents and businesses. Water resources include: water
   transfers, surface storage, groundwater, and reuse. This criteria system
   should be in place as soon as possible for the city to effectively and
   fairly make decisions about water resource use requests.

   2. The city’s water resource plan should include water resources and
   uses not only in its two water districts, but also central Menlo Park, the
   O’Connor Tract, and any other water districts so that all 32,000 residents
   and commercial users are treated equitably.

   3. The city work with San Mateo County to develop a regional water
   resource management plan that prioritizes water use. The staff study
   mentioned 3 types of groundwater use approaches: Ordinances, adjudication,
   or local management. All have pros and cons. I’d also recommend two other
   approaches for effective water resource management:

   - Pricing. Like energy use with peak pricing and shortage pricing,
      pricing of water consumption for residential and consumers will have a
      significant conservation effect. I realize there are significant
      challenges with that approach, but it treats everyone fairly and
provides a
      very strong incentive to reduce and conserve water.

      - Conservation: As the EQC chairman says, the cheapest, easiest
      source of a gallon of water is the water we don’t use. The city should
      establish conservation pricing to help drive conservation.

As an EQC member and a resident, I appreciate your consideration of my
comments and I look forward to working with you, the city staff, and my
fellow EQC members to quickly develop a city wide water policy that helps
us effectively manage water resources, shortfalls, and new demands.

Thank you,

Allan Bedwell

515 Morey Drive

Menlo Park, CA 94025
Received on Tue Jun 03 2014 - 11:51:24 PDT

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