EBMUD declares Stage 2 drought

Following a bleak California snow survey and the driest January to March on record, the EBMUD Board of Directors voted 6-1 to elevate its drought response and mandate a 10 percent District-wide water use reduction target at its April 26 meeting. To ensure the water utility meets the needs of its customers if the dry weather continues, the Board approved the following actions: 

  • Drought surcharge of 8 percent on water flow beginning July 1, 2022.
  • Mandatory 10 percent water use reduction District-wide as compared to 2020 with a plan to review progress towards achieving this goal in November. 
  • Reinstatement of the Excessive Use Penalty Ordinance. The ordinance sets a threshold of roughly 1,646 gallons of water per day for households. Households who exceed the threshold will receive one warning, and then will 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.

Drought surcharge 

On May 10, 2022, board members approved a drought surcharge of 8 percent to recover a portion of the expense of purchasing supplemental supplies and other drought costs. The surcharge will apply to customers’ water use charges, not the entire water bill. For the average EBMUD household that uses 200 gallons per day, an 8 percent surcharge would add approximately 10 cents per day to the customer’s water bill; approximately $3 per month and $6 per two-month billing cycle.

To date, EBMUD has paid for drought operations out of reserves. Funding drought emergency costs for a second year is not financially feasible without supplemental revenue. These emergency surcharges will only be in place as long as this drought persists, and revenues would go directly toward the cost of managing this emergency.

If the surcharge is in place for a full year, it will recover approximately $30.8 million in rate-payer dollars. EBMUD estimates that a year of drought management will cost the District approximately $64.5 million. The drought surcharge will cover almost half of the expense, while the rest will be covered by reserves.

Visit our Watersmart Center for tools and tips to make every drop count.


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Do your part

Help EBMUD achieve its mandatory 10% District-wide reduction in water use. If you are already conserving as much as you can, thank you! If you can conserve more, get started with the suggestions below.

Report water waste here 


When to water

Water your landscape before 9 a.m. or after 6 p.m. to reduce evaporation. Update your controller with the seasons. Keep water on living things only. Read more.


Find and fix leaks

Toilets and irrigation leaks are the cause of most high water bills, and they often go undetected. Investigate your high bill to save water and money. Read more

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Make your yard drought-ready

Invest in long-term drought resiliency with California native plants and updated irrigation equipment. Read more.

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Update inefficient indoor fixtures

Outdated faucets and showerheads can waste water. EBMUD offers a host of free conservation items. Read more.

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Estimate your home efficiency

Understand how and where you use water at home.  This calculator can help you explore the factors that contribute to your total home water use. Read more.

Water Report Portal

Explore your actual water use 

Log in to see your own water consumption history, set up high use alerts, investigate high bills, and explore additional ways to save. Read more.

Decades of drought planning

EBMUD has invested nearly $1 billion in public rate dollars to diversify and increase water supplies to weather multi-year droughts.

Sticky Monkey

Purchase of supplemental water

For two consecutive droughts, EBMUD has had the ability to purchase water from the Sacramento River and deliver it to the East Bay Area through the Freeport Regional Water Facility. Read more.


System improvements to repair leaks

EBMUD works around the clock to reduce leaks and water loss using innovative techniques and 24-hour main break repairs. Report a main break.

Gains through water conservation
A more cost-effective strategy to weather drought is to save water rather than build and operate additional infrastructure. EBMUD stretches our water supply with investments in conservation programs. Read more.

Long-term plans for future climates

EBMUD has evaluated 2020-2050 projections for water supply and demand and outlined actions to deal with future uncertainties. EBMUD has also created a water shortage plan for multi-year droughts. Read more.

Drought declaration timeline

California declares drought
April 21, 2021 - California Governor Gavin Newsom proclaims a statewide drought emergency. Read more.

EBMUD declares drought
April 27, 2021 - Based on projections that water runoff from the Sierra Nevada Mountains into the Mokelumne River Watershed will not refill EBMUD reservoirs, which stood at 69 percent full, EBMUD Board of Directors declared a Stage 1 drought. Stage 1 calls for 10 percent customer conservation and executes contracts to purchase emergency water supplies from the Sacramento River. Read more.

Conservation kicks in, supplies come in
Fall 2021 - EBMUD customers reach targeted 10 percent conservation goals. Meanwhile, EBMUD executes a purchase for supplemental water supply from the Sacramento River. From October through March 2022, EBMUD brings 33,000-acre feet of water via the Freeport Regional Water Facility into the EBMUD system.

Winter 2021 - Despite some significant atmospheric rivers, precipitation falls short of expectations. Warm weather causes customers to increase water use, and fall short of conservation goals.

Drought year two
March 28, 2022 - After a largely-dry winter, California Governor Gavin Newsom issues an Executive Order calling for greater drought response. Read more.

April 1, 2022 - The final California snow survey reveals only 35 percent of average snow levels. Read more.

April 26, 2022 - EBMUD Board of Directors declared a Stage 2 Drought and mandated 10 percent water use reduction District-wide as compared to 2020 and review progress towards achieving this goal in November.