Drought Update

Drought Update

Special Meetings Regarding Drought Response & Rates

Special community meetings were held by the EBMUD Board of Directors to hear the latest on the status of current and projected water supplies, the cost of drought and potential drought rates and the best water-saving tips from our conservation pros. Meetings were held in Walnut Creek, Richmond, Oakland and Castro Valley. You may view the presentation here.

EBMUD is reviewing feedback now. The Board of Directors is expected to make a decision about a proposed drought rate structure at the December 9 regular Board meeting.

California's Emergency Water Conservation Restrictions

We remind East Bay residents and businesses that water is too precious to waste. Until further notice, all EBMUD customers are required to:

Limit watering of outdoor landscapes to two times per week maximum and prevent excess runoff.

Use only hoses with shutoff nozzles to wash vehicles.

Use a broom or air blower, not water, to clean hard surfaces such as driveways and sidewalks, except as needed for health and safety purposes.

Turn off any fountain or decorative water feature unless the water is recirculated.

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

Please cut your water use ten percent

To everyone in the East Bay who makes conservation a way of life, we thank you. We don’t have to ask for more than 10 percent conservation now because of EBMUD customers' history of conserving and rate payers' investment in supplemental supplies, recycled water and conservation measures. 

Since February, EBMUD customers have cut back 10 percent. By following the mandatory measures and continuing to cut back your water use you stretch our existing supplies in case there isn’t enough rain and snow next winter to replenish our reservoirs.

Short days + cool nights = less thirsty plants. With cool weather, short days and rain, it’s time to turn irrigation off. If conditions are dry, water your trees and shrubs by hand once every two weeks or as needed. Remember: state restrictions that mandate cutting back on outdoor watering remain in effect.

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.

Convert your thirsty lawn to a sustainable landscape and upgrade your irrigation equipment to efficient drip systems and self-adjusting controllers. Rebates are available for single- and multi-family residences and commercial customers.

Find and fix leaks. Toilet and irrigation systems contain some of the biggest and sneakiest leaks.

Slow your flow. Use our WaterSmart Home Survey Kit to evaluate your home’s water use and find leaks and inefficient fixtures.

Upgrade appliances and plumbing fixtures to more water efficient models. EBMUD currently offers water conservation rebates to customers for toilets and washing machines.

Add up your water use. This home water use calculator can help you determine where and how to cut back your water use.


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.

EBMUD monitors precipitation and reservoir levels daily. As of November 1, EBMUD had 396,220 acre feet of water stored in all its reservoirs combined. That is 52 percent full or 73 percent of average. Reduced runoff from last winter's storms means EBMUD reservoirs did not refill this year.

What’s next?

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.

More cutbacks, mandatory rationing, drought rates and surcharges for the purchase of additional water supplies may be needed to cope with serious, prolonged drought.

EBMUD promises that if drought rates and allocations are put in place to enforce mandatory rationing, customer allocations will not be based on use during this voluntary cutback period. 

Buying, treating and delivering drought year water supplies from the Sacramento River adds costs, but this summer EBMUD was able to absorb the cost and not add a drought surcharge to customer bills. However, if additional water is needed again, a 14 percent supplemental supply surcharge may be applied to flow charges – resulting in a temporary average increase of $6 for the average customer.

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