Water rationing mandatory in the East Bay

July 8, 2008 7:40:28 PM PDT
A drought has become a reality for East Bay MUD customers as water rationing and higher rates have been approved.

The days of green lawns, plenty of water, and free flowing faucets are being severely curtained. East Bay MUD customers face mandatory rationing.

District directors say the drought situation is severe. They need to reduce water consumption by 15 percent overall. Most single family residents will be required to take a 19 percent hit and multi-residential units will reduce 11 percent.

Those who use less than a hundred gallons a day will not be affected. The rate amount is based on average use during the past 3 years. Those who go over their allocation will see a surcharge. There will be a procedure to appeal.

Before the vote, there was a parade of homeowners. Here's what they had to say about the new rationing:

"I don't think they adequately account for the conservation of customers."

"What creative or innovative plans are on the table to avoid these emergencies?"

"Mandatory rationing is not necessary. It's also punitive to customers like us who have practiced wise water use since the drought years of 1977 through 78."

But as expected, board members said they had no choice.

"We're in a bind. We need to implement a plan or else face budget issues and face not having adequate water storage for the future," says board director Andy Katz.

"If we do not conserve 15 percent today, then we're in a drought next year. The severity is going to be much greater," says EBMUD director John Coleman.

Directors are calling the decision temporary. They want to look at other options. The rates will go into effect on August 1st with the first bills arriving September 1st.


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