Drought Update

Drought Update

The Drought Continues: Action Needed

EBMUD asks you to cut back your water use even further from 10 percent in 2014 to 15 percent in 2015, because of the continued drought. If needed, EBMUD is prepared to purchase Sacramento River water from our contract with the federal government to supplement our regular water supplies from the Mokelumne River. The decision to take supplemental supplies has been delayed until April of this year thanks to:

Your conservation efforts. 

December rains in the East Bay which added to local reservoirs plus precipitation in the Mokelumne watershed.

Modest improvements in the state’s water supply situation, reducing the risk of severe cutbacks to our supplemental supplies. 

In fall 2014, the EBMUD Board of Directors sought public input on the potential purchase of supplemental water and drought rates at community meetings held in Walnut Creek, Richmond, Oakland and Castro Valley. You may view the presentation here.


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 15 percentPlease cut water use 15 percent

To everyone in the East Bay who makes conservation a way of life, we thank you. Because of the East Bay’s history of conserving combined with ratepayer investment in dry year supply options and water recycling, today EBMUD is asking for hard but not harsh cutbacks and compliance with statewide restrictions.

In 2014, EBMUD asked customers to conserve 10 percent and customers have exceeded that, cutting water use 13 percent to date. In 2015, EBMUD asks customers to cut back further, to 15 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 this 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 January 1, EBMUD had 419,400 acre feet of water stored in all its reservoirs combined. That is 55 percent full or 76 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.

To make sure we have enough water supplies, EBMUD adopted new emergency measures effective January 2015. Customers are asked to cut back water use 15 percent. Since conservation alone is not enough, EBMUD may purchase supplemental water supplies as needed 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