Drought Update

Critical water shortage declared 

Because of dismal rain levels and melted snowpack, EBMUD has declared a Stage 4 critical drought and set a community-wide goal to reduce water use 20% compared to 2013. To achieve these savings, EBMUD has adopted new water use rules that affect all customers and must supplement normal water supplies with water from additional sources. 

Mandatory water restrictions in effect  

These restrictions apply to everyone -- individuals, businesses, homeowners associations, schools and other public entities.  

  • Strict limits on frequency: water no more than two non-consecutive days per week with no runoff.
  • Strict limits on times: water only before 9 am or after 6 pm.   
  • No watering allowed within 48 hours of measurable rainfall.
  • No watering of ornamental turf on public street medians allowed.
  • 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.   
  • Use of hydrant water outside the EBMUD service area is prohibited. 

What's required for businesses: 

  • Restaurants and other food service establishments can only serve water to customers upon request.  
  • Hotels and motels must provide guests with the option of not having their towels and linens washed daily. 

More conservation needed

  • If you already conserve, thank you. Please keep looking for ways to conserve and check regularly for leaks--silent leaks are common and use a lot of water.
  • Twenty percent is our community-wide goal. You may be able to save more or you may already meet that goal.
  • Strive for 35 gallons per person per day indoors and follow the mandatory outdoor use rules.

Conservation alone is not enough  

  • EBMUD is delivering nearly 11 billion gallons of extra water supplies through its federal dry-year water contract – about a two-month supply to fill local reservoirs.
  • EBMUD will continue looking for more water supplies to buy and deliver through the Freeport facility on the Sacramento River.

New drought rates

EBMUD’s Board of Directors will hold a public hearing on June 9 and then consider adopting new rates. Planned rate increases would fund ongoing services and investments in our aging infrastructure. A temporary Stage 4 drought surcharge of up to 25% and monies from budget savings will pay for extra water supplies we buy, additional conservation services and enforcement of water use restrictions.

If approved, the new rates and the drought surcharge would take effect July 1. The drought surcharge would apply to customers’ flow charge until further notice. The average household using 10 units per month (246 gallons per day) would see their bill increase by $11.65 starting July 1 if temporary drought surcharges and the proposed regular rate increase are approved.

Excessive use and water theft must stop

EBMUD is adopting two new ordinances in 2015 related to water use. The excessive water use ordinance will penalize households who use 1,000 gallons per day, which is four times the amount of water used by the average residential customer. The water theft ordinance will allow EBMUD to fine persons for stealing water or making unauthorized use of a public fire hydrant.

Customer assistance

If you are a low-income residential customer or are experiencing financial hardship, please call 1-866-403-2683 to learn about our Customer Assistance Program. 

7 simple steps to save 20%

If the idea of cutting back your water use further makes your head spin, you’ve come to the right place. The pros at EBMUD offer ways to help you cut back water use during the drought.

Rebate redemption. If you are in the market for a new washing machine or
toilet, switch to a high-efficiency model and cash in on rebates offered by EBMUD.

Find and fix leaks. Uncover those sneaky leaks and water-wasting fixtures with our free WaterSmart Home Survey Kit.

Do the math. With our home water use calculator you’ll be surprised by how
much water you actually use each day. Get ready for a reality check.

Goodbye lawn, hello rebate. Make the shift to a sustainable landscape or
upgrade to high-efficiency irrigation equipment
and qualify for a rebate.

Mulch much? Called a gardener’s best friend, mulch helps soil retain moisture, stifles weeds and beautifies your garden. What else could you want? How about mulch coupons?

Have you seen water being wasted? Report water waste here.

Spot water with recycled water. If you need to spot water plants, consider picking up free drought emergency recycled water from one of our partner agencies: Central Contra Costa Sanitary District and Dublin San Ramon Services District.

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



Drought history: 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 prevent such hardship from occurring again, EBMUD invested for more than three decades in increasing available water supplies and making conservation a way of life in the East Bay.

Today, the East Bay is better prepared to cope with a severe drought than it has ever been.

Over the past 10 years, customers have reduced their water use by 20 percent. Additionally, EBMUD has invested nearly $1 billion in the past decade on additional water supplies, recycled water projects and conservation programs. Today, thanks to ratepayer investment and customer conservation, EBMUD can handle short-term droughts better than in previous droughts.

The district’s annual water supply and deficiency report on April 14, 2015 confirmed that projected water storage will be at near-record lows without additional actions. Storage in all reservoirs combined is expected to be at one-third of capacity by October 1, the start of the water year. Only in 1977 did EBMUD see lower storage numbers. Sierra and local reservoirs combined are currently about half full. Peak water use will occur in July, August and September when many residential and irrigation customers typically double or triple their use.

What’s next?

Expanded statewide mandatory limits on outdoor water use and waste are in effect until further notice. EBMUD adopted a local regulation to support the state's efforts.

To make sure we have enough water supplies, EBMUD adopted and expanded drought emergency measures. EBMUD has set a community-wide goal to reduce water use 20% compared to 2013. Since conservation alone is not enough, EBMUD will purchase and deliver supplemental water supplies from the Sacramento River this spring.

Board Briefings

Board meeting documents and presentations can be viewed on the Regular Board Meetings page.  The documents below are PDF files which can be viewed and printed with Adobe Acrobat Reader, a free software utility.

Fact Sheets