Drought Update

Drought Update

Special Meetings Regarding Drought Response & Rates

EBMUD invites you to attend a special community meeting of the EBMUD Board of Directors and hear the latest on

  • Status of current and projected water supplies
  • Cost of drought and potential drought rates
  • Best water-saving tips from our conservation pros

October 23
6:30-8:30 p.m.
Walnut Creek Civic Park Community Center
1375 Civic Drive at Broadway, Walnut Creek, CA 94596

October 29
6:30-8:30 p.m.
City of Richmond Council Chambers
440 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond, CA 94804  

November 5
6:30-8:30 p.m.
EBMUD Administration Building
375 11th Street, Oakland, CA 94607

November 19
6:30-8:30 p.m.
Castro Valley Library
3600 Norbridge Avenue, Castro Valley, CA 94546

These important community meetings regarding the drought, conservation and water rates are open to the public. Interpretive services in Spanish and Chinese will be available at each 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. State restrictions mandate cutting back on outdoor watering this fall and winter. For lawns, EBMUD recommends watering once a week. It’s enough as the weather cools and days shorten. Set your schedule to 5 minutes x 3, once a week. When the rains begin, turn outdoor watering off. Water your trees and shrubs by hand once every week and once every two weeks starting in November. Routinely check for leaks, overspray and run-off.
  • 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.

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 July 18, EBMUD had 436,120 acre feet of water stored in all its reservoirs combined. That is 57 percent full or 68 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