EBMUD eases drought restrictions after winter storms

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EBMUD eases drought restrictions following winter storms
Photo via Scopio

The East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) is easing dought restrictions following record-breaking winter storms, in part by ending an 8 percent drought surcharge earlier this month and by suspending penalties for excessive water use.

The changes come in the wake of an executive order signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on March 24 that rolls back some of California’s drought restrictions but stops short of ending the drought emergency.

The EBMUD’s Board of Directors voted to downgrade from Stage 2 drought to Stage 1 drought within 30 days of the state updating its emergency drought regulations.

As part of the adjustment, EBMUD is asking its 1.4 million customers in Alameda and Contra Costa counties to move from 10 percent mandatory conservation to 10 percent voluntary water use reduction.

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.

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.”