The city of Sebastopol is trying to save water, and you can too.
The city has promoted its campaign to conserve water through different programs and measures, and now you can show your support with yard signs available at the public works department 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
“We addressed the issue early; this is something that we recognized way back in March. We started an informational campaign in our city newsletter, social media, and website; we put some informational flyer wording in our water bills. And really we're trying every outlet to try and get the word out. We just recently got the yard signs,” said Dante Del Prete, Sebastopol’s public works department superintendent.
At a July 28 special city council meeting, the city amended the previously enacted stage 2 of the water conservation measure, which includes a 25 percent reduction in water use of residents and extended it to commercial and industrial water customers as well.
The city also offers a water efficiency program called Water Upgrades $ave through BayRen, a Bay Area Regional Energy Network that provides energy-efficient programs and services. Anyone can enroll online at waterupgradessave.org or by phone at 877-846-8795 to schedule a free home assessment to select water efficiency upgrades, including high-efficiency toilets and showerheads.
Sebastopol has also provided a survey on residents’ water bills and at Sebastopol.ca.us asking who would be interested in installing cellular water meters, which asserts it would provide instant access to water usage reports.
“We haven't had a great response. So, not the response we're hoping for. We're going to do a little additional push on social media and get the word out. Also, the water bills hopefully are going to generate it. We're also going to continue to push that survey and get a true representative sample from our residents and our customers,” Del Prete said.
The city plans to release another promotional product they are referring to as the “Sebasto-pail” bucket that can be used for water capture and reuse.
“The more information we get out there, the more we talked to people, the better off we are because we really just need to spread the word on how serious this condition is,” Del Prete said.
Del Prete said he found the most effective tool so far has been door hangars they have placed on residences, which have led to several reports of excessive water use by residents.
“I would say last week we probably got five; this week so far, I think I’ve gotten two myself, but all my staff has access to the door hangers and has a lot supplied in their vehicle. So kind of in our day-to-day maintenance operations if we see that we can automatically use that as an opportunity to educate we do,” he said.
Efforts to reduce water usage while still addressing citizens’ requests have also been an aim for the city. The public works department recently used a hot water/steam pressure washer at the Sebastopol Plaza, a much more water-efficient way to clean the area that had drawn complaints after vendors left the area dirty.