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Water-supply outlook more positive in Danville

EBMUD has not declared a drought locally, but encourages water conservation

With drought concerns at the forefront statewide after the governor's emergency proclamation last week, current water availability doesn't appear as dire locally as in other parts of California, according to a spokeswoman for Danville's water-service provider.

"Our supply is in fair condition," said Abby Figueroa, public information representative for the East Bay Municipal Utility District. "Despite 2013 being the driest year on record, we started this winter with good storage levels in our reservoirs thanks to heavy rains at the end of 2012."

EBMUD -- which provides water to about 1.3 million residents in Contra Costa and Alameda counties -- has not declared a drought for its service area, but agency officials continue to monitor the fluctuating situation, Figueroa said.

Gov. Jerry Brown last Friday urged all Californians to reduce their water usage by as much as 20 percent, and Danville residents should strongly consider taking part, according to Mayor Robert Storer.

"I believe we need to respect the real possibility of another drought year and the potential consequence associated with this serious situation," Storer said. "It's important to begin the water conservation measures as a community before it becomes mandatory."

Among its top conservation tips, EBMUD suggests ratepayers find and repair water leaks at their home, reduce irrigation and consider a switch to more sustainable outdoor landscaping, according to Figueroa.

The district has seen an uptick in water demand so far this winter, likely due to recent unseasonably warm and dry weather, she added.

"Of course, there's been barely any rainfall in the past three months, so as winter has progressed our reservoir levels are being drawn down," Figueroa said. "However, winter is only half over and a couple good storms this spring could bring our reservoir levels back to average."

Should local drought conditions arise, EBMUD could employ a number of strategies, including rationing, enacting drought rates or accessing other, costlier water supplies, according to Figueroa.

But at this point, those options "are still in early phases of consideration," she added.

The EBMUD Board of Directors is set to receive regular updates on the local water supply at board meetings, which take place on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month in Oakland. Agency staff is scheduled to present its final water-supply forecast of the year on April 22.

In addition to Danville, EBMUD provides water to the nearby communities of San Ramon, Alamo, Blackhawk and Diablo. Its service area extends to Crockett to the north, Richmond to the west and San Lorenzo to the south.

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