Palo Alto City Council Updates Dewatering Policies for 2016 – More to Come

Thank you for your support, for signing our petition and for becoming informed as to the true value of our community groundwater. On 2/1, dewatering was addressed for the first time by the Palo Alto City Council. The discussion was wide ranging and lively.

The value of community interest and participation was acknowledged; Save Palo Alto’s Groundwater was explicitly recognized as an example of effective citizen activism. Some council members commented on the value of our groundwater as a resource and not construction waste, and the role groundwater will play in meeting our future water needs.

The issue of dewatering was previously discussed in 2003 and 2008 by the Planning and Transportation Committee but meaningful action was not deemed necessary then.  Kudos to those early activists who recognized the importance of groundwater.

After some discussion the City Council decided to authorize the changes proposed by City Staff to the 2016 dewatering process. These changes include asking applicants to submit dewatering plans that minimize the rate and duration of dewatering and requiring metering and recording of the amount of extracted groundwater.

Based on the data and experience obtained from the implementation of these new policies, Palo Alto City Staff will prepare additional recommendations to the City’s dewatering policy. The target date for these policy recommendations is during the first half of 2016. The details of these policies will be very important – particularly adopting quantitative limitations on the amount of groundwater that can be pumped and discarded. Together we’re making a difference but there’s still a lot more work to be done!

Please stay involved and check out some of the terrific news articles and scientific papers posted on this website. We especially invite you to subscribe to be notified of new posts, which will be on an occasional basis. Simply enter your e-mail address in the “subscribe” box on the right hand column of this page.

The future is ours to waste or cherish. We appreciate your support.

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