Drought

Sierra storms boost EBMUD water supplies  

Updated: April 1, 2018

A series of winter storms brought welcome relief to the Sierra's, helping refill EBMUD reservoirs. After a dry December and February, precipitation levels rebounded in March. EBMUD recorded 16 inches of precipitation (238 percent of historic average for the month) in the Mokelumne River Watershed.

As of April 1, EBMUD’s main reservoirs, Pardee and Camanche, stand in healthy shape at 99 percent and 81 percent full. The district’s Sierra and East Bay reservoirs combined are 87 percent full (108% of average), indicating strong water supplies for this time of year. The latest updates are available on the water supply page.

Although storms bolstered Sierra snow depth and water content, the snow pack in the Mokelumne River Watershed is below the historic average. Measured at Caples Lake, the snow depth is 48 inches, 71 percent of average for April 1. The Snow Water Content reading is nearly 16 inches, or 57 percent of the April 1 average.

The variability of each season, from drought to deluge, remind us all to use water wisely.

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Water Supply Update
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Mokelumne watershed precipitation
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Daily water supply report (detailed data)

Spring into summer the water smart way  

When warm weather calls us out to play, it’s time to prep our landscapes for lazy lounging and outdoor get-togethers galore. EBMUD’s water conservation pros are here to keep your landscape lush with water-saving tips.

Before turning on your irrigation system, remember to check your entire system for leaks and blockages.

  • Ensure that irrigation spray heads point to landscaping and not the fence or driveway (repeat for all zones including lawn, planters and shrubs).
  • Remove dirt or plants covering up spray heads.
  • Inspect irrigation zone valves to ensure they open and close and check for leaks.
  • Change irrigation controller batteries. If you have an on-site weather sensor, make sure it’s clean.
  • Review your irrigation controller schedule as lawn and shrubs need different watering times.

For more tips, visit the WaterSmart Center

Outdoor watering rules

The following outdoor watering restrictions are in effect to encourage wise water use.

  • Repair leaks  
  • When watering outdoor landscapes, avoid runoff on sidewalks, streets and hardscapes.
  • No washing of driveways and sidewalks; except as needed for health and safety.
  • Use only hoses with shutoff nozzles to wash vehicles.
  • Turn off fountains or decorative water features unless the water is recirculated. 
  • No irrigating ornamental turf on public street medians.
  • No watering of outdoor landscapes within 48 hours of rainfall.

For businesses: 

  • Restaurants must only offer water upon customer request. 
  • Hotels must provide guests the option to reuse towels and linens.  

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A new standard of using less

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Customers surpassed EBMUD’s and Governor Brown’s request to reduce water use.

The goal: cut back water use by 20 percent. Customers conserved 24 percent compared to 2013. In fact, water demand in 2016 is at its lowest since 1978. 

Customers demonstrated a record-breaking interest in all rebate programs, choosing WaterSmart landscapes over thirsty lawns and making household efficiency upgrades a best practice. 

theLawnGoodbye_4.0-5-31-2016-2.pngConservation by the numbers 

The long-lasting conservation changes and habits customers made boosted our reservoir levels and will prepare us for the next drought ahead. 

  • 3 million square-feet of lawn removed 
  • 65,000 customers enrolled in Home Water Reports 
  • 12,799 rebates provided for high-efficiency clothes washers 
  • 8,915 rebates for high-efficiency toilets 
  • 6,000+ water waste complaints received by phone and online 
  • 73 East Bay businesses and entities certified as WaterSmart Businesses

Tools to save water

Visit the EBMUD WaterSmart Center, and see Save our Water for more tools to help you conserve.

 
Rebates and free items

 
Report water waste

  
WaterSmart Calculator

Lessons learned: How did we get here?

In 1976-77, East Bay residents and the East Bay economy felt the pain of severe mandatory water rationing. To limit future hardship, EBMUD and its ratepayers invested nearly $1 billion to diversify and increase water supplies during the last three decades.

Those investments paid off. Water supplies from the Sacramento River were delivered to East Bay taps through the Freeport Regional Water Facility in 2014 and 2015, in time to bridge the water supply gap when our Mokelumne River supply was stressed.

Over the past 10 years, customers have reduced their water use by 20 percent. Additionally, EBMUD continues to invest in additional water supplies, recycled water projects and conservation programs. Today, the East Bay is better prepared to cope with a severe drought than it has ever been. 

Drought Report

This document summarizes the key initiatives deployed and the approach, actions, and insights captured from the 2014-2016 drought response.

Document Type Size
2014-2016 Drought Report Executive Summary PDF <1 MB