Keep glass half-full with conservation

Shuey headshotAs we move into March we all need to hope, pray, do a rain dance and act out any other personal superstitions we have to get us some much needed rain and snow or we will all be facing more water rationing and conservation efforts this summer and beyond.
Currently, we are being asked to conserve 15 percent. Regardless of the drought, it is important that as our population swells we all start practicing ongoing good water habits. The Contra Costa Water District has all sorts of valuable and interesting articles and information regarding short- and long-term water conservation. They can help you with water conservation tips, a home water use survey to determine where you can save, a water saver newsletter to keep you advised of conditions and further ways to help, and most importantly, rebates for conservation, including up to $1,000 to convert your lawn to a water-wise landscaping. For information, go to
Rally on Recycling: Speaking of conservation, let’s just say that our recycling rates continue to disappoint and we as a city really need to step up our efforts. Fifty percent is the goal and we had only 45 percent, with residents at 48 percent and commercial recycling at 27 percent. On a more positive scale, solid waste headed to the landfill for disposal was down four tons for residential in comparison to January 2014 and down 11.3 tons for commercial waste. As a reminder, your brown recycling can should be bigger than your blue garbage can. If not call Allied Waste and they will switch you for the right size.
Street Smarts: Congratulations to our great city staff as the results are in county-wide on the pavement condition index (PCI) for cities. This is like the Oscars for maintenance geeks and Clayton had a “very good” rating among the best in the county. With more than 94 lane miles we had zero of our streets rated as poor or failed and 71 percent rated excellent or very good. When this rating came out, we had other cities ask us with envy how we did it. Judicious and wise use of our road funds keeps us ahead of the curve so great job.
Home Sweet Home: On another good note, home prices continue to recover. January home sales in Clayton had a median price of $728,500, 19 percent higher than January 2014. The number of days on the market before a home sold was at 38, again down significantly from 92 days in January 2014.
In closing, I learned a great kitchen tip from a master chef: “Avoid cutting yourself when slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold the vegetables while you chop.”  I am getting pretty good in the kitchen with this tutelage. Email me at