East Bay customers need to save more water


East Bay MUD customers may have spent their summer taking shorter showers and skipping car washes, but their efforts haven't gone far enough.

The agency says the region's water supply is still critically low. Officials declared a drought and imposed mandatory water rationing in May, but water savings so far have topped out at 11.3 percent-- well short of the 15 percent goal. Customers lately have been getting the message.

"What we've seen over the past several months is an increased level of conservation on behalf of our customers," said Dennis Diemer, an East Bay MUD general manager.

Those who haven't been cutting back will soon pay for it. Bills going out this week will show a surcharge for people who exceeded their allocation, but the agency said most customers will likely pay less than $10.

The president of the East Bay MUD Board of Directors says people who live in single family homes have been doing their part.

"Our commercial folks aren't doing enough. We know multi-family are not doing enough," said Lesa McIntosh, President of the East Bay Mud Board of Directors.

East Bay MUD has spent millions to educate the public about the drought. The agency also repaired leaks in its own water system in an effort to conserve, saving an estimated 250,000 gallons per day.

Even though it's expected to rain in the Bay Area over the next few days, East Bay MUD is pleading with its customers to keep up the conservation efforts.

"My hope is that they continue to conserve within the household, because this doesn't mean anything for one or two days. It's a long term effect," said Bill Patterson, East Bay Mud Board of Directors.

More than 11,000 acre-feet of water has been saved since May, but with a dry winter predicted this year, that's still not enough.

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