Water rationing recommended for East Bay

May 12, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
On Tuesday the East Bay Municipal Utility District will consider mandatory water rationing for its 1.3 million customers. If it's approved, it will be the first time rationing has been necessary there since 1991.

"I like to take long hot showers," said Nikolai Kabaniaee from Walnut Creek.

Mandatory water cutbacks would affect almost every part our daily lives. Andy Katz is one of seven East Bay Municipal Utility District board members. They'll be voting on a water rationing proposal. This year, he says the sierra snow pack will deliver only half of its normal runoff.

"It's a very serious water shortage. We need people to conserve every way we can," said Andy Katz, an EBMUD board member.

East Bay MUD is asking its 1.3 million customers to cutback 15 percent of their normal water use. On top of that, it's considering a temporary 10% rate increase, surcharge of $1 for every 748 gallons used, higher rates for heavy water consumers, and temporary restrictions on washing the car and watering your lawn.

The water supply is full in places like the Lafayette Reservoir, but the concern is over what this place will look like next year.

This was the Comanche Reservoir, southeast of Sacramento, in 1991. That was the last time there was mandatory rationing.

"We need restaurants to ask customers do you need water? Don't just automatically serve somebody water," said Katz.

Families who wash a lot of dishes and clothes, could pay the most. There's a proposed rate hike of 20 percent for the heaviest water users.

"Ours was like 50 to 60 gallons a load. We do 15 loads a week with all three kids. So we just got a whole new washer and dryer," said Jeff Wendt, from Lafayette.

Families and businesses aren't the only ones that could be rationed. A separate proposal will apply to major industry and manufactures.


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