Your next sip of water may come from the Sacramento Valley as supplies from the region replenish EBMUD’s local reservoirs this year.
Most years, most of EBMUD’s water comes from Sierra snowmelt above the Mokelumne River. Currently, district reservoirs are about half-full and are expected to drop further by the end of summer.
Since conservation alone is not enough, EBMUD is also purchasing emergency water supplies through a federal contract with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Valley Project. But this year, water available for purchase was cut drastically to 25 percent of historic use.
To bridge the gap, EBMUD knocked on the doors of three agencies located 100 miles away in the Sacramento Valley. Like a puzzle, EBMUD pieced together a plan to purchase a four-month supply of water. The extra drought supplies equal 58,500 acre feet or about 19 billion gallons of water, including supplies from the Central Valley Project contract.
Water transfers underscore the importance of collaborative partnerships during this drought. That’s the framework EBMUD established with Placer County Water Agency, Sycamore Mutual Water Company and Reclamation District 1004. Water transfers help urban water users while preserving and protecting the natural resources of the lower American River and Sacramento Valley.
Purchasing emergency water supplies comes at a cost of about $50 million. A temporary drought surcharge of 25 percent on all customer bills, which took effect July 1, will pay for the extra supplies. With these water transfers, EBMUD is better positioned to protect customers and the local economy in the driest of years.
In addition to purchasing supplemental water supplies, the new 2016-2017 budget will fund necessary capital infrastructure improvements and repairs. To learn more, go to ebmud.com/about-us/investors/budget-and-rates/