EBMUD Board to consider drought declaration at Tuesday meeting

EBMUD to consider drought declaration at Tuesday meeting
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UPDATE: The EMBUD Board of Directors voted to declare a Stage 1 drought shortage at its April 27, 2021 meeting.

Persistent dry conditions in the Mokelumne River watershed in the Sierra Nevada may prompt the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) Board of Directors on Tuesday to declare a Stage 1 drought and establish a voluntary water use reduction goal of ten percent district-wide.

EBMUD’s drought-response plan also proposes to purchase supplemental water supplies from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Valley Project and divert water from the Freeport Regional Water Project in Sacramento, among other measures.

“To date, 2021 has been the second driest year on record in the Mokelumne River basin and the driest year on record for the East Bay,” according to EBMUD.

This month, the California Department of Water Resources projected runoff on the Mokelumne River at 43 percent of average.

Drought conditions are being experienced throughout much of the West, marking a second consecutive dry year, according to California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Last week, the governor proclaimed a regional drought emergency for the Russian River watershed in Sonoma and Mendocino counties due to record-low reservoirs. Newsom also directed state agencies to “take immediate action to bolster drought resilience and prepare for impacts on communities, businesses and ecosystems if dry conditions extend to a third year.”

“California is facing the familiar reality of drought conditions, and we know the importance of acting early to anticipate and mitigate the most severe impacts where possible,” Gov. Newsom said in a statement. “Climate change is intensifying both the frequency and the severity of dry periods. This ‘new normal’ gives urgency to building drought resilience in regions across the state and preparing for what may be a prolonged drought at our doorstep.”

On Tuesday, the EBMUD Board will hear the 2021 Water Supply Availability and Deficiency Report before engaging in discussion and making decisions related to water supply. A live stream of the meeting will begin at 1:15 p.m. Click here for more information about the meeting.

The EMBUD serves 1.4 million customers in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.