CONTRA COSTA COUNTY (KPIX 5) — The Contra Costa Water District board voted Wednesday night to ask customers to reduce water use by 10%. Meanwhile, customers are raising concerns about another change that is literally leaving a bad taste in people’s mouths.
“Yeah, it’s a little weird. The smell. There’s a weird smell, yes,” says Jessica Padilla who has lived in Concord her entire life.
Jessica Padilla said at times she’s noticed a musty smell coming from her tap water in Concord.
“We don’t drink the water, the tap water, no,” she said.
Water managers say it’s perfectly safe to drink, and to get to the root of the smell, one has to look at the source.
Contra Costa Water District serves about a half a million customers in the northern part of the county from Martinez to Brentwood. Much of the service area is along the Delta. If their water storage at Los Vaqueros reservoir gets low, the district can pull water from the Discovery Bay and Victoria Island area of the Delta.
“There can be more salt water that’s getting in from the bay. It also does have algae in the water,” says Jennifer Allen, the spokesperson for the Contra Costa Water District.
The treatment plants make the water safe to drink, but the organic compounds left behind from treating the algae can cause a smell.
The district has a seemingly never-ending supply of Delta water along with additional storage in the reservoir. That means the Contra Costa Water District is only asking for a 10% voluntary reduction in water usage instead of more drastic measures other districts are taking.
This year the Contra Costa Water District will pull more water from the Los Vaqueros reservoir, so they do not anticipate using as much Delta water, which means there could be fewer issues with odors. Water managers say it’s still important for customers to try to cut back on water use.
“I feel like everybody around here is pretty much conserving water. I don’t see anybody washing their cars anymore or anything like that,” said Padilla. She and her family went so far as to remove their lawn and replace it with bark during last year’s drought.
“The grass is pretty but you have to go with saving. Saving money, saving water, everything,” she says.
Water managers say if people are able to conserve more water, they will not have to move to more mandatory and restrictive orders.
More information about water conservation and free programs offered by Contra Costa Water District can be found on their website.