EBMUD customers cut water use 16 percent

July conservation exceeds targets – EBMUD urges continued efforts to save precious water supplies

OAKLAND – Customers of the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) have responded to the call to conserve water during the ongoing drought emergency, saving 6 percent in May, 12 percent in June, and 16 percent in July compared to 2020 usage.

“We thank our customers for saving water. Our residents and businesses are being mindful of their water use and are fixing leaks and trading their grassy lawns for drought tolerant gardens,” said Board President Doug Linney. “These actions lead to long-term savings – which prepare us in case next year is dry and help us respond to a climate that is changing in front of our eyes.”

EBMUD data shows that nearly 30 percent of drinking water is used by customers to water outdoor gardens. The summer offers the greatest opportunity to find water savings, and EBMUD is partnering with customers to make it easier to save water with:

  • Rebates for replacing turf with drought tolerant plants and upgrading to efficient irrigation equipment. EBMUD increased the dollar amounts for several of its rebates and now offers up to $2.50 per square foot for turf replacement.
  • Rebates for flowmeters, which are devices that customers can install on their water meters to monitor their water use in real time and set up home water budgets.
  • A web portal where customers can sign up to view their water use and receive alerts about potential leaks.
  • Bi-weekly virtual office hours where customers can meet with water conservation experts to learn more about EBMUD programs and how to save water.
  • Water Wednesday events: The next installment of this virtual seminar series on August 17 is “Goodbye Grass. Hello Garden!” and will discuss how to get started on a lawn replacement project.
  • Virtual and in-person water use consultations, Home Water Survey Kits, educational webinars.
  • Upcoming “I Heart my Garden” contest to celebrate inspiring examples of water wise gardens.
  • Partnering with the state’s Save our Water campaign to support their efforts to educate and encourage conservation.

In addition to supporting customers’ efforts to conserve, EBMUD is also taking important steps to save water within its distribution system, which encompasses 4,200 miles of pipelines, by prioritizing pipe replacement and using innovative technologies to find hidden leaks. EBMUD is also maximizing water supply options by purchasing supplemental water from government agencies and private landowners; recycling water for industrial and irrigation uses; improving incentive programs to help customers save precious supplies; and implementing strategic regional partnerships on projects such as the expansion of Los Vaqueros Reservoir and groundwater banking in San Joaquin County to fortify water supplies.

In April 2022, EBMUD’s drought response was elevated to Stage 2, which mandates 10 percent conservation District-wide, tightens restrictions on outdoor water use and reinstates the Excessive Use Penalty Ordinance.

“Recent polls have shown that drought worries are at the top of the minds of the people we serve,” said EBMUD General Manager Clifford Chan. “Customer savings figures are moving in the right direction, but we know we must do more. EBMUD asks its customers to continue to conserve, and if they are able, make more changes to make long-term impacts to their water use habits. EBMUD is here to help with rebates and expert guidance.”

EBMUD has implemented the following actions to promote customer conservation:

  • Mandated 10 percent water use reduction District-wide, as compared to 2020.
  • Reinstated the Excessive Use Penalty Ordinance which sets a daily household threshold of about 1,646 gallons. Households exceeding the threshold face fines of $2 for every 748 gallons of water above the threshold.
  • Updated outdoor water restrictions, including limiting outdoor watering to three times per week, prohibiting washing down sidewalks and driveways, and requiring restaurants and cafes to only provide water upon request, among other provisions.

For more information on current drought status and to get assistance with your conservation efforts, go to ebmud.com/drought.  


The East Bay Municipal Utility District has a proud history of providing high-quality drinking water for 1.4 million customers in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. EBMUD’s wastewater system serves 740,000 customers and helps protect the ecosystem of San Francisco Bay. EBMUD is a not-for-profit public agency established in 1923.

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Andrea Pook
Senior Public Information Representative