Excessive Use Penalty

Excessive use penalty suspended amid improved drought conditions

After a wet winter that restored reservoirs to healthy levels, the East Bay Municipal Utility District Board of Directors voted unanimously to suspend the Excessive Water Use Penalty Ordinance, which levied fines on customers who used more than 80 units of water per billing cycle. The suspension will take effect on May 3, 2016. In casting their votes, EBMUD board members said they are shelving the excessive use penalty because it is an emergency conservation tool best used during periods of extreme drought. The ordinance will remain on the books if needed during future droughts.

Adopted by the Board of Directors in April 2015, this ordinance targeted customers who used more than 1,000 gallons of water per day. Of some 5,600 individual customers who were assessed excessive use penalties, three-quarters reduced their water use below the 80-unit threshold to avoid a repeat penalty, proving this penalty effectively helped customers find large leaks in their home plumbing, abide by outdoor watering restrictions, replace water-guzzling landscapes with more drought-tolerant designs and surpass conservation goals mandated by the state. Together, EBMUD customers have reduced water use by 24 percent compared to consumption in 2013. We thank every customer who saved water during this historic drought. 

Under the California Public Records Act, EBMUD will release two final lists of customers who violated the Excessive Use Penalty to members of the press with standing requests for that information. 

Background 

EBMUD established an Excessive Water Use Ordinance on April 28, 2015, effective May 29, 2015, that prohibited the excessive use of water. Single-family residential customers who used more than 80 units (59,840 gallons) of water per billing period were subject to a $2 penalty for each unit (or portion of a unit) over the 80 unit threshold.

This penalty is included in bills beginning in July/August, which were mailed to customers starting in September 2015. The suspension will take effect on May 3.  

Public Disclosure Requirements

High water use customers should be aware that under the California Public Records Act (Section 6254.16(d) of Government Code 6250-6276.48) EBMUD is required to release the name, home address and water use data of customers using water in violation of EBMUD's regulations and ordinance if that data is requested pursuant to a Public Records Act request. In the past EBMUD has received public records requests from the media for information about customers whose use is excessive as defined by the ordinance. If EBMUD receives a valid public records request for information about violations of its excessive use ordinance, EBMUD will comply and the media may publish that information. EBMUD understands customers' concerns about their private information and will only release information which is required to be released by law. EBMUD takes customer privacy very seriously and has a practice of never voluntarily releasing customer information to a third party unless required by law. 

Ordinance Enforcement

While EBMUD is interested in water conservation rather than penalizing customers, violating EBMUD's excessive use ordinance is a misdemeanor in accordance with California Water Code section 377 and EBMUD has the option to take enforcement actions.

Appeal an Excessive Use Penalty

If you wish to appeal this penalty, please fill out and return the appeal form (available below). Please include photos or other evidence supporting your appeal.

  • The appeal must be signed and dated by the appellant/account holder.
  • Incomplete or unreadable appeals will be denied.
  • Your appeal must be post-marked within 15 calendar days of the date of the water bill for the billing cycle in which the penalty was imposed.
  • You will receive a response from the District within 30 days of the District’s receipt of your appeal.
  • Appeals must be mailed. Faxes or emails are not accepted.

Mail your appeal to:

EBMUD Excessive Water Penalty Ordinance Appeals
c/o EBMUD Customer Services Division
P.O. Box 24055, MS #42
Oakland, CA 94623-1055

Document Type Size
Excessive Water Use Penalty Appeal Form PDF <1 MB

Request Exemption from Excessive Use Penalty

If you wish to request an exemption to this penalty, please fill out and return the exemption form (available below).

  • Please include photos or other supporting information with your exemption request.
  • The appeal must be signed and dated by the appellant/account holder.
  • Incomplete or unreadable appeals will be denied.
  • Your exemption request must be post-marked within 15 calendar days of the date of the water bill for the billing cycle in which the penalty was imposed.
  • You will receive a response from the District within 30 days of the District’s receipt of your appeal.
  • Appeals must be mailed. Faxes or emails are not accepted.

Mail your exemption request to:
EBMUD Exemption from Excessive Water Use Penalty
c/o EBMUD Customer Services Division
P.O. Box 24055, MS #42
Oakland, CA 94623-1055