Man confused by EBMUD's inconsistent policy of releasing info on water users

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- An East Bay man is crying foul over East Bay Municipal Utility District's apparent double standard when it comes to releasing the names and addresses of its water customers.

The man said the East Bay Municipal Utility District is being inconsistent by playing by two different sets of rules when it comes to releasing names and addresses of its water users. And East Bay Municipal Utility District told ABC7 News that's how it is.

"They had us at about 1,100 gallons a day," Matt Behrens said.

Behrens is on the water district's excessive water user list. His name and address was released by the district for the world to see, but when Berhrens went to research other properties he was looking to buy in an effort to downsize and use less water, EBMUD told him: "'No, we can't give you that information for privacy reasons.' We were really looking to downsize and have lower utility bills and EBMUD was no help to us," Behren said.

Behrens said he and his family have cut back their water usage by 60 percent since 2013, but it's still too high, so they're looking at smaller properties.

He said PG&E freely gave him power usage data for the addresses he was considering, but EBMUD was quiet. "PG&E is not a public agency, EBMUD is a public agency," EBMUD spokesperson Andrea Pook said.

Pook said the district's privacy regulation dates back to the 1960s. "The reason that the excessive water users' names were released is because people violated a specific ordinance, we're required by law to release those names if requested by the media," she said.

"I think if they can release the names of the excessive water users, they should be able to give us the history of water usage on a house that's listed for sale, it seems pretty simple," Behrens said.

EBMUD officials said they do have resources online for residents who want to research data generally by neighborhood or home size, but no specific names or addresses.

To learn how much water your city is required to cut back, click here.
For EBMUD customers billing questions about leaks and high bills click here.
For water rebate information from Bay Area water suppliers, click here. You'll find tips about how to conserve water here and information on how to to report water wasters #WhereYouLive, here.

For full coverage on the drought, click here.
Copyright © 2022 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.