Drought over? EBMUD suspending water-waster penalties

Board votes to stop ordinance effective May 3 after wet winter

An ordinance that imposes fines on suspected water wasters in the San Ramon Valley and other parts of the East Bay as a reaction to the state's drought is being lifted, according to the East Bay Municipal Utility District.

Citing the recent wet winter that came after seasons of extreme drought, the district's Board of Directors voted unanimously Tuesday to suspend the excessive water use penalty ordinance, effective May 3.

The ordinance was initially adopted in April 2015 by a nearly unanimous vote by the EBMUD board in order to penalize customers using more than 1,000 gallons of water each day.

Specifically, the ordinance fined single-family residential customers $2 for each unit -- or 748 gallons -- used after crossing over an 80-unit threshold.

EBMUD officials said the ordinance was effective in curbing excessive water use. Of the about 5,600 customers fined, around 75% reduced their water use to avoid another penalty, EBMUD officials reported.

Although EBMUD officials said it was not intended to be an additional disincentive, the district periodically released names of violators of the ordinance based on media requests.

A few of the wide-ranging individuals named on EBMUD's lists of violators included San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey, 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov, Motley Crue lead singer Vince Neil, former Chevron executive George Kirkland and Safeway CEO Steven Burd.

There will be another two of these lists released, naming the final violators of the penalty before it is suspended, according to EBMUD.

The penalty ordinance "will remain on the books," EBMUD officials said, in the case an emergency conservation tool is needed to respond to future droughts.

— Bay City News Service

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2 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of West of Foothill
on Apr 28, 2016 at 8:07 am

This is when the state needs to start building more dams. We need more jobs and more water. The population has expanded by 25% and not a single new dam. Then they wonder why we have a water shortage. Really. Plus I thought we needed more clean electricity to run all those new electric cars.

Like this comment
Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 28, 2016 at 9:31 am

They have been drawing down Shasta Lake for some time to make room for the snow melt from Mt Shasta and water tables in the Central Valley have been rising as well. Another large issue is the loss of revenue of some districts because people have been conserving.

Like this comment
Posted by Patriot
a resident of Birdland
on Apr 28, 2016 at 12:30 pm

We should shame the EBMUD board for this reckless decision! We are in a drought and need penalties.

1 person likes this
Posted by WaterFee
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Apr 28, 2016 at 1:56 pm

My question is are they going to reduce the rate charged to pre-drought days? As I recall, water rate was raised to discourage people from using excessive water. Now with the restriction removed, would they reverse the rate hike or are they going to stay quiet hoping the people forget?

2 people like this
Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 28, 2016 at 2:06 pm

The rate will stay the same. 31.5% increase.

Like this comment
Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 28, 2016 at 2:07 pm

I thought it was over a month ago when Livermore recycling said they were not going back to full hours like last summer.

Like this comment
Posted by The Truth
a resident of Happy Valley
on May 2, 2016 at 4:54 pm

Seriously wish we could just buy our water from EBMUD.

Zone 7 is not going to end drought conservation due to their own lack of capacity planning.

Like this comment
Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on May 3, 2016 at 9:23 am

We used to buy from emud. Our hippie mayor and council at the time decided to switch over. She and her crew are also the ones who decided to put in all these hard water groundwater pumping stations as a means of water supply. We voted them in so its our fault.

Like this comment
Posted by ptown loves the drought
a resident of Country Fair
on May 3, 2016 at 9:41 pm

The drought will never be over in Pleasanton. It just doesn't work for them - they have so much more control over us with the drought. And, it works that they get to spend millions of residents' dollars to put in recycled water pipes - putting all residents at risk as they rupture gas lines right and left. Wait - did we agree to toilet to tap? That's next, and there will probably be no "vote" - an emergency measure due to poor planning. And the hippie mayor - left behind progeny. Uggghhh.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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