Properly Implemented, Palo Alto’s 2016 Dewatering Guidelines Can Benefit Our Community

Hello All,

The dewatering season for Palo Alto started April 1st.  The City has posted the 2016 Palo Alto dewatering map and will keep adding dewatering sites as they become active.  Currently, there are two active sites but only 736 Garland has a fill station.  In order to minimize the amount of water going down the storm drain, every one wishing to do so is encouraged to get water from the available fill stations.  The faucets at the fill stations are required to provide 10 gallons/minute each which is a good strong flow.  If they don’t, please inform City of Palo Alto Public Works or Save Palo Alto’s Groundwater using the contact information below.

As we have mentioned before, the City’s 2016 dewatering guidelines are a step in the right direction.  In an ideal world we would have zero water waste with a minimal amount of water pumped out for construction and all that pumped water used for beneficial purposes instead of flowing down our storm drains.

Nonetheless, the City has listened and has put some measures in place to encourage a decrease in the amount of water pumped.  Applicants are required to optimize well count and well locations and they are required to minimize well depth, pumping rate and duration of pumping.  To ensure that the duration of pumping is minimized, the Dewatering Permit is issued for a maximum of 10 weeks with fines of $500/day accruing (and subsequently escalating) thereafter.

Additionally, applicants who plan to dewater are required to submit a Groundwater Use Plan to show how the groundwater pumped out will be used to the extent practical.  Some of the requirements for the Groundwater Use Plan that we believe will be helpful to minimize water waste are:

  • The applicant will water on-site and neighboring vegetation, to the extent desired by owners;
  • The applicant will pipe water to any nearby parks and schools as requested by City;
  • The applicant will truck water one full-day per week to irrigation sites as directed by the City; and
  • The applicant will use water on-site for dust suppression and other construction needs.

But, it is up to all of us to see that these are not merely paper plans or cosmetic changes.  There needs to be a substantial reduction of the water that is pumped and meaningful use of it.  Please contact Public Works at 650-329-2151, email: or contact us,   if you feel these requirements of Palo Alto’s 2016 Dewatering Guidelines are being disregarded in a location near you.

Thanks for caring about our groundwater, a precious resource.



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