How to Get Involved

(1) Stay informed on this issue by subscribing to our blog. Just add your email address under the subscribe button in the right hand column and you will get automatic notifications whenever a new blog is posted.  You can unsubscribe at any time and we never ask for donations!

(2) Inform us of your interest and, optionally, your area of expertise. Send your name and contact information to info@savepaloaltosgroundwater.org.

(3) Write a letter about dewatering to the newspapers:

  • Daily News: letters@dailynewsgroup.com
  • Palo Alto Weekly: Letters to the Editor: letters@paweekly.com.  Letters to the Editor must be no more than 300 words to be considered for publication
  • SJ Mercury News: Letters for our editorial page must include the writer’s name, address and phone number. We do not give out letter writers’ phone numbers or addresses.
    Mail: Write “Letters to the Editor” on the envelope and send it to our main address.
    Fax: (408) 271-3792.
    E-mail: letters@mercurynews.com
  • Daily Post Letters: Write to us at letters@padailypost.com. Please limit letters to 250 words or less. Shorter letters are printed first and edited least. Include your first and last name along with your address and phone number. Of course your address and phone number will not be printed.

(4) Write a letter, call or email the City Council. You can contact all 9 Council members at City.council@cityofpaloalto.org , or individually.

Sample Letters (special thanks to Rene Wood for submitting these):

Step 1:  Select your email addresses.  See above for email addresses to City Council and newspapers.

Step 2:  Copy and paste a sample letter into body  of email and modify it to reflect your experience/opinion.

Step 3:  Add your name and send.

Thank you for your support!

 Sample letter #1

In 2016 the City Council showed great leadership by requiring measurement of all groundwater extraction during construction of residential basements.

As the City Council learned, the metered amount of extracted groundwater was in excess of 30 million gallons for one residential dewatering project. The total for the construction of the 8 Palo Alto residential basements that required dewatering in 2016 exceeded 140 million gallons. Over 99% of this140 million gallons of valuable groundwater was flushed into city storm drains as a construction waste.

While the City will never know the true amount of extracted groundwater, as Palo Alto’s Public Works Department (PAPWD) cited faulty metering for at least one project, the total is staggering and should be a wake-up call to all. Previous non-metered estimates of 8-10 million gallons of groundwater extraction per residential basement dewatering site were clearly grossly inaccurate.

As such, I strongly urge the City Council and PAPWD to accept stewardship of our community groundwater, a vital resource, and adopt holistic, common sense residential basement dewatering management regulations beginning in 2017.

Such regulations would 1) limit the maximum amount of groundwater extracted by requiring best-practice construction methods; 2) require beneficial use or recharge of all extracted groundwater; and 3) prohibit discarding extracted groundwater into our storm drains.

I urge the City Council to apply enacted regulations to all residential basement dewatering projects which will occur in 2017.

Sincerely,

 Sample Letter #2

 In spite of current rain, reasonable people know challenges continue to exist regarding our groundwater resources.

The City Council’s requirement that Palo Alto’s Public Works Department meter residential basement construction dewatering in 2016 was a much needed and critical first step. It was shocking to learn one metered dewatering project extracted over 30 million gallons of groundwater. Over 99%+ of this water was flushed into our storm drains as a construction waste. This groundwater was never used; it was wasted forever.

It makes absolutely no sense to be discussing future desalination plants, paying Santa Clara Valley Water District for water to replenish our aquifer, providing rebates on rain barrels and encouraging homeowners’ water reduction usage while at the same time allowing millions of gallons of shallow aquifer groundwater to be flushed down our storm drains.

Please build on the work started in 2016 and on March 2017 adopt holistic, common sense residential basement dewatering management regulations that:

1) Use best-practice construction methods to limit the maximum amount of groundwater extracted; 2) require beneficial use or recharge of all extracted groundwater; and 3) prohibit discharge of extracted groundwater into our storm drains.

To truly protect our groundwater, I urge the City Council to apply enacted regulations to all residential basement dewatering projects occurring in 2017 regardless of when permits were issued.

Sincerely,

Sample Letter #3

Palo Alto’s groundwater is a community resource too valuable to freely pump and dump down storm drains simply for the construction of residential basements.

I request the City of Palo Alto to require that developers/owners building basements in areas with high water tables use best construction practices such as limiting the duration and depth of dewatering and/or using “silent piling” and other techniques to minimize the amount of water extracted during this construction. Furthermore, I request that all water extracted be used, for example, for irrigation, for fire hydrants and other non-potable uses and/or recharged back to the aquifer.

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