Redwood City Mayor Jeff Gee Explains The City’s Current Water Conservation Strategy

Redwood City residents have consistently used less water than estimates from studies suggest they will.

With an historic and unusual drought upon us, water conservation is at the forefront of citizens’ minds across the state. Here in Redwood City, I’m proud of what our community has done so far to save water. Compared to usage in 2013, Redwood City water customers have reduced their consumption by 12%. (We track this and a lot of other data points on our public works water page, for those who want to see the gallon-for-gallon savings.)

This accomplishment has led to a State-mandated water conservation target of only 8% for Redwood City — by comparison, other neighboring communities have been given conservation targets of up to 37%.

Still, the drought continues — and so will our conservation efforts. Together we must encourage neighbors, businesses, and residents to conserve even more.

The City of Redwood City is uniquely positioned to provide a model for local water conservation, given the success of our strategies to date. Let’s talk about some of these strategies, which we’ll call “Water Conservation Truths”.


Water Conservation Truth #1

Redwood City’s overall demand is currently only 76% of the city’s water supply guarantee.

I applaud our community’s united effort to conserve water and achieve this low usage rate, and I encourage everyone to utilize City programs and tools to conserve even more!


Water Conservation Truth #2

We approve new development in our downtown only after its impact on water usage and demand is considered. New development represents a very small portion of the city’s overall water demand.

An artist’s rendering of Redwood City’s Downtown following implementation of the Precise Plan.

Every new development proposal that passes through City Hall is reviewed from a variety of perspectives, one of which is potential impact on water demand. New development represents only 3.6% of our overall water demand. This percentage represents all the projects outlined within the Downtown Precise Plan, including those planned for in future years. The City’s Urban Water Management Plan (UWMP) was developed to outline water use over the next 20 years, and it includes all development within our Downtown Precise Plan and Inner Harbor area in its growth projections.

In other words: Our new development strategies were designed to be drought-resistant. We have room to grow, and we’re planning smartly for that growth.


Water Conservation Truth #3

Replacing older buildings with more water-efficient ones helps the city maintain a sustainable rate of water usage.

New projects that have recently been completed, such as 201 Marshall, are using 40% less water than projected. All new developments are also highly water efficient — they use low-flow toilets and shower heads, and are already plumbed for recycled water use in toilets and landscape irrigation. This will further reduce their potable water use once recycled water lines become available.


Water Conservation Truth #4

Redwood City is unique and owns a recycled water plant.

Redwood City is building and investing in the future of water conservation by expanding its recycled water pipeline to Downtown. By constructing a recycled water plant and continuing to broaden its recycled water distribution system, Redwood City can considerably limit its usage of potable water.

Growth of recycled water use in Redwood City over time

At present, recycled water provides 7.5% of Redwood City’s usage thanks to these efforts, and that will number will grow along with the city’s recycled water pipeline. The expansion project through Downtown will begin in 2016. This means new and existing buildings will be able to tap into the recycled water pipeline and conserve water effortlessly and efficiently.


Water Conservation Truth #5

The City of Redwood City is a water conservation leader in the Bay Area and recycled water programs are free to Redwood City residents within Redwood City’s water service area.

Some of our free water programs are described below:

A resident at our recycled water fill station

The Redwood City Recycled Water Fill Station Program provides a sustainable and drought-resistant supply of water to Redwood City water customers and construction/commercial customers for a variety of uses.

For more information about the Recycled Water Fill Station program, click here.

The City of Redwood City is also providing other cities within the County of San Mateo recycled water at a retail rate. This service is a good way to build great communities together!

For other Redwood City water conservation programs and information, click here.


I hope these truths about water conservation help answer any questions you have about water use and development within the City of Redwood City. I encourage you to share this information and website tools with your neighbors and friends. Let’s keep up the good work. The City of Redwood City will continue to be a leader on this issue.

Jeffrey Gee, Mayor of Redwood City

Redwood City VOICE

Information & Perspectives from the City

City of Redwood City

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Official thoughts and communications from the heart of the Peninsula. “Climate Best by Government Test”.

Redwood City VOICE

Information & Perspectives from the City

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