Critical water shortage


UPDATE: With our reservoirs refilling and water supply projections sufficient to meet demand, EBMUD declared an end to our drought emergency on May 10, 2016.

Because of investments in conservation, recycling and supplemental supplies, EBMUD and our customers rose to the challenge to meet the East Bay’s water needs during a historic four-year drought. Visit our Drought page to get the latest drought news.   

EBMUD declared a Stage 4 critical drought and set a community-wide goal to reduce water use 20% 
compared to 2013. To achieve these savings, EBMUD adopted new water use rules that affect all customers and must supplement normal water supplies with water from additional sources.

Mandatory outdoor watering rules now in effect:

  • Strict limits on frequency: no more than two non-consecutive days per week 
with no runoff.
  • Strict limits on times: only before 9 a.m. or after 6 p.m.
  • No watering allowed within 48 hours of measurable rainfall.
  • No watering of ornamental turf on public street medians allowed.
  • No washing of driveways and sidewalks; except as needed for health and safety.
  • Use only hoses with shutoff nozzles to wash vehicles.
  • Turn off fountains or decorative water features unless the water is recirculated.

More conservation needed

  • If you already conserve, thank you. Please keep looking for ways to conserve and check regularly for leaks. 
  • Strive for 35 gallons per person per day indoors and follow the mandatory outdoor use rules.
  • Twenty percent is our community-wide goal. You may be able to save more or you may already be doing all you can to conserve indoors and out.

Conservation alone 
is not enough

  • EBMUD is delivering nearly 11 billion gallons of extra water supplies through its federal dry-year water contract—about a two-month supply to fill local reservoirs. 
  • EBMUD will continue looking for more water supplies to buy and deliver through the Freeport facility on the Sacramento River.

New drought rates

EBMUD’s Board of Directors will hold a public hearing on June 9 and then consider adopting new rates. Planned rate increases would fund ongoing services and investments in our aging infrastructure. 

A temporary Stage 4 drought surcharge of up to 25% and monies from budget 
savings will pay for extra water supplies, additional conservation services and 
enforcement of water use restrictions.   

If approved, the new rates and the drought surcharge would take effect July 1. 

The drought surcharge would apply to customers’ flow charge until further notice. The average household using 10 units per month (246 gallons per day) would see their bill increase by $11.65 per month starting July 1 if temporary drought surcharges and the proposed regular 
rate increase are approved. 

Excessive use and water theft must stop

EBMUD is adopting two new ordinances in 2015 related to water use. The excessive water use ordinance will penalize households who use 1,000 gallons per day, which is four times the amount of water used by the average residential customer.

Update: After a wet winter that restored reservoirs to healthy levels, the East Bay Municipal Utility District Board of Directors voted unanimously to suspend the Excessive Water Use Penalty Ordinance, which levied fines on customers who used more than 80 units of water per billing cycle. The suspension will take effect on May 3, 2016.

The water theft ordinance will allow EBMUD to fine persons for stealing water or making unauthorized use of a public fire hydrant.

Customer assistance 

If you are a low-income residential customer or are experiencing financial hardship, please call 1-866-403-2683 to learn about our Customer Assistance Program. 

Go to for more information about the drought, water use prohibitions and available services.

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