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EBMUD declares highest level drought emergency

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The East Bay Municipal Utilities Water District declared a Stage 4 drought emergency, the highest level it could adopt. (KGO-TV)

The ongoing drought is about to hit East Bay residents in their wallets. On Tuesday, the East Bay Municipal Utilities Water District declared a Stage 4 drought emergency, the highest level it can adopt.

The board is still tweaking the drought management plan. Among those items is how much people who waste water should pay and how much they have to waste before they pay.

They are the most extreme measures EBMUD has taken in more than three decades and they come as the board declares a critical drought situation.

That is just the beginning.

"They reflect that we're in a stage of drought that's worse than the Stage 4 that we've even planned for," EBMUD board member Andy Katz said.

The board also enacted several other measures -- immediately turning on the pumps at Freeport to begin purchasing emergency water from the Sacramento River and enacting mandatory conservation of 20 percent.

"There is no way that anybody, I don't think, cannot know that we're in a drought, unless they are completely clueless," EBMUD board member John Coleman said.

The board also began the process to enact an ordinance that would penalize water thieves and chronic wasters.

"The penalty ordinance is mainly intended for those customers who are using very high, high unreasonable amounts of water," EBMUD Customer Service's Sherri Hong said.

An excessive user is anyone that uses four times the daily average, more than 984 gallons a day.

At this point, EBMUD says their overall storage is projected to be just 53 percent of capacity at the end of the year, the lowest level since 1977.

For water rebate information from Bay Area water suppliers, click here. And click here for tips on how to conserve.

Click here to report water wasters to ABC7 News.

For full coverage on the drought, click here.

Related Topics:
weatherdroughtbeat the droughtcalifornia wateru.s. & worldwaterwater conservationEBMUDgardeningmoneyCaliforniaSacramentoOakland
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