Oakland, April 25, 2023
EBMUD further eases drought restrictions and focuses on long-term conservation
Move from Stage 1 to Stage 0 follows the scaling back of drought restrictions
OAKLAND - Following a unanimous 7-0 vote by its Board of Directors, the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) has moved to a stage 0, further easing drought restrictions, while continuing to urge customers to conserve water.
The April 25, 2023 Board action ends the water shortage emergency that began in April 2021, and suspends a District-wide voluntary 10 percent water use reduction. Drought restrictions issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom in a March executive order remain in place. They include no irrigation within 48 hours of rainfall, no irrigation of ornamental turf on non-residential sites, no irrigation runoff, no spraying sidewalks and driveways, and only allowing hoses with shut-off nozzles when washing vehicles.
All changes went into immediate effect on April 25.
The easing of the nearly three-year drought follows an impressive effort by EBMUD’s 1.4 million customers to conserve water. Customers saved a collective 32,000 acre-feet, or 10 billion gallons of water. EBMUD thanks its customers and urges them to embrace a water-conservation culture.
“With the heavy rainfall and snow we experienced this winter, we see how quickly conditions can change from exceptionally dry to extraordinarily wet,” Board President Andy Katz said. “EBMUD’s customers can play an active and important role in preparing for inevitable future droughts by making water conservation a part of their daily lives.”
EBMUD customers can continue to save water by finding and fixing leaks indoors and out; using a flowmeter that can help catch leaks early; creating water-wise landscaping; replacing inefficient household appliances and plumbing fixtures with budget-friendly efficient models, and following state guidelines to curb water waste. More information can be found at ebmud.com/waterconservation.
The shift to Stage 0 reflects the change in EBMUD’s water supply after a series of unprecedented winter storms filled the District’s reservoirs. EBMUD projects its water system will be full by the end of the water year on September 30. EBMUD’s system is currently 76% full with room for snowmelt from this winter’s record-breaking Sierra snowpack.
In March, EBMUD suspended penalties for excessive water use, ended the 8 percent drought surcharge, and downgraded from a Stage 2 to Stage 1 drought after a rollback of state drought restrictions. The prolonged drought cost the District $21 million, including the purchase of 54,000 acre-feet of supplemental water supply for customers.
With EBMUD marking its 100th anniversary this May, the utility has weathered numerous droughts and drought-busting winters. Formed in 1923 to address concerns about the scarcity of water in the East Bay, EBMUD remains committed to its mission to provide safe, clean water while planning and innovating for the future.
“We are pleased with this winter’s plentiful rain and snow that allows us to move past the drought. But we recognize that drought is cyclical in California and climate change is intensifying this phenomenon,” said General Manager Clifford Chan. “As we look ahead, EBMUD will continue to upgrade and invest in our infrastructure, develop partnerships, and use state-of-the-art technology to ensure that East Bay residents have a reliable supply of water in response to a changing climate.”
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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