Oakland, March 28, 2023
EBMUD Moves to Ease Drought Restrictions
East Bay’s water supply reservoirs expected to fully refill
OAKLAND – Following record-breaking winter storms and the easing of California’s emergency drought restrictions, the East Bay Municipal Utility District is adjusting its emergency drought regulations and suspending penalties for excessive water use.
The changes for EBMUD customers go into effect on March 29 following a March 24, 2023, executive order signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom that rolls back some of California’s drought restrictions but stops short of ending the drought emergency.
Following this winter’s extremely wet weather, on February 14, 2023, EBMUD filed a preliminary water supply report that indicated water supplies are sufficient to meet customer demand. In response, EBMUD’s Board of Directors unanimously voted to end the 8 percent drought surcharge effective March 1, 2023, and to downgrade from Stage 2 drought to Stage 1 drought within 30 days of the state updating its emergency drought regulations.
The changes include suspending implementation of the Excessive Water Use Penalty Ordinance and asking EBMUD’s 1.4 million customers in Alameda and Contra Costa counties to move from 10 percent mandatory conservation to 10 percent voluntary water use reduction. Further changes could occur when the EBMUD Board reviews the final water supply report for the year in late April.
“As our reservoirs fill up and our drought response winds down, we are grateful for the snow and rain we’ve seen this winter. But we know California will continue to experience periods of extreme dryness,” Board President Andy Katz said. “Our customers did a great job of conserving, which helped us tremendously, as did our purchase of supplemental supplies. We thank our customers for saving water and ask that they continue to make conservation a way of life.”
Since April 2020, EBMUD customers conserved 32,000 acre-feet of water. The change in drought response follows an extraordinary winter that has refilled EBMUD’s reservoirs despite significant snowmelt yet to come. To date, EBMUD reservoirs are 88% full and projected to continue to refill with melting snow this spring and summer.
Consistent with the Governor’s Executive Order that eases drought restrictions but maintains water conservation measures, EBMUD will continue to ban outdoor watering with potable water within 48 hours of rainfall, irrigating non-functional turf on non-residential sites, and washing vehicles without hose shut-off nozzles.
Along with the state of California, EBMUD advocates for adopting water conservation as a long-term practice as trends point to a hotter, drier climate in this drought-prone state. EBMUD recommends that customers continue to check for leaks and conserve water. EBMUD also offers water conservation rebates for converting lawns, upgrading irrigation systems and installing flowmeters for real-time water use data. These upgrades will help customers save water, and money, now and into the future.
"As we adjust to weather extremes, we encourage customers to connect with us and learn about all the ways they can make their homes and businesses water smart,” said General Manager Clifford Chan. “Along with our long-term water supply planning, these changes will help our community become more resilient in the face of a shifting 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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