The San Ramon Valley's primary water provider told its customers Tuesday afternoon to comply with new statewide mandatory watering restrictions, but said it would not issue tickets or fines to users who ignore the recently adopted rules.
"We've found in past droughts that the carrot works better than the stick," said Andy Katz, president of the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) Board of Directors.
EBMUD, which serves Danville and most of San Ramon, continues to ask customers for voluntary 10% water conservation, and the agency said users have lived up to call thus far, reducing their water consumption by 10.7% overall between February and July 31.
"Thanks to ratepayers' investment in additional water supplies, customers' ongoing conservation and the additional water use cutbacks made this year, EBMUD's water supply continues in fair condition this summer despite the severe drought," Katz said.
But the new restrictions on outdoor watering, recommended by the State Water Resources Control Board, are necessary in the EBMUD service area to "stretch our supplies in case next winter fails to bring enough snow and rain," Katz added.
The limitations, approved unanimously by the EBMUD board Tuesday afternoon, mean agency customers must:
* Reduce outdoor landscape watering to a maximum of two times per week
* Prevent excess runoff when watering their landscapes
* Use only hoses with shutoff nozzles to wash vehicles
* Stop using water to clean hard surfaces such as driveways and sidewalks, except as needed for health and safety purposes
* Turn off any fountain or decorative water feature unless the water is recirculated.
EBMUD officials said rather than focus on punishing violators, they will instead continue to promote existing conservation programs, including landscape conversion rebates and home survey kits, and work to inform customers how to follow the new outdoor water-use restrictions.