EBMUD declared the drought emergency and imposed mandatory rationing May 13, seeking a 15 percent reduction in water consumption over the next year. It intensified its efforts to fix leaky pipes quickly, provide recycled water to stretch the drinking water supply, and cut back on water use at its facilities and in its operations.
The district forecast that reservoirs would drop to 415,000 acre-feet, which is far from the 600,000 acre-feet desired or the 500,000 acre-feet necessary to avoid triggering conservation measures. EBMUD explained that even heavy rains do not assure that reservoirs will be refilled because not all rain actually makes it into the reservoir system.
EBMUD reported in October that although the measures were having an effect, the forecast of lowered water in the reservoirs proved to be accurate. The district is urging residents who had not taken the measures seriously to please comply. It reminds us all that leaky toilets are notorious water wasters; water is also wasted if it runs while we rinse dishes or brush our teeth; and showers should be limited to five minutes.
The district set goals for residents to cut their water usage by 19 percent over the last three years. Customers who felt they could not meet their allocation - perhaps because they were already conserving - were able to request changes, and 90 percent of the 7,300 who applied had received adjustments by the end of September.
On a hot summer day, water rationing comes naturally. When water is streaming down our windows it's more counter-intuitive but just as important.
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