California's water supply has reached a "crisis situation" amid drought conditions, but the outlook for Danville and some its neighbors isn't as dire as other parts of the state, according to an East Bay Municipal Utility District official.
"We are in a situation where we have a water shortage. Fortunately we're not as bad as some water agencies throughout the state," John Coleman, who sits on the EBMUD Board of Directors, told the Danville Town Council on Tuesday night at the Town Meeting Hall.
EBMUD, like most California water agencies, have been severely impacted by dry weather in the Sierra Nevada mountains. The Northern Sierra snowpack water level stood at 21% of normal Friday, according to data collected by the California Department of Water Resources.
EBMUD typically receives about 90% of its annual water supply from the Sierra's Mokelumne River watershed, which has received 46% less precipitation than normal for this time of year.
Despite the dry conditions, the district's water supply remains in fair shape, in part because of customer conservation, agency planning and infrastructure improvements, according to Coleman, whose representation area includes greater Danville.
The reservoirs EBMUD depends on sat at 63% full as of Thursday.
The district has asked those in its service area to voluntarily reduce their water use by 10% to preserve the water supply, but that request comes with a caveat, Coleman said.
"We also realize that some people have already cut back considerably, so we're not asking them to cut back any more," he added. "I ask people to use the water wisely. Don't waste it because if it is wasted and not used wisely, then we are going to be in a more dire situation where dramatic things may need to be in place."
The EBMUD board is not currently considering implementing mandatory reductions, but Coleman acknowledged that rationing could be put on the table if drought conditions persist.
Mayor Robert Storer and Councilwoman Renee Morgan asked whether EBMUD has developed a water-rate structure for potential rationing.
Coleman said the rate structure is undecided at this point, but agency officials would likely calculate unique base levels for each zip code -- based on average use dating back two or three years, as opposed to creating a base from current usage during the drought.
One option that could prevent mandatory rationing would be accessing water from the Freeport Regional Water Facility, but that move would result in increased rates to cover costs of purchasing, treating and delivering water from the Sacramento River watershed, Coleman said.
EBMUD staff is set to present regular updates about the water situation during board meetings in Oakland.
In the meantime, Coleman said he's also holding out hope for wetter weather late into, and even beyond, the traditional rainy season.
And to protect the water supply going forward, local and state officials need to explore a variety of options, including increased water storage, water transfers, using recycled water and desalination, according to Coleman.
"What we need to do is plan for the future," he added. "In 10 years if we're standing here talking about the same thing, we haven't done our job."
Updates on the current local water supply are available on the EBMUD website.
In other business, the Danville council presented a proclamation declaring this Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Month.
Council members also announced recruitment for positions on two town commissions and one regional committee.
They are looking for one youth representative on the Arts Commission, and four regular members and one youth member on the Parks and Leisure Services Commission. They also seek a Danville representative to sit on the County Connection Advisory Committee.
All terms begin July 1. To apply or receive more information, contact City Clerk Marie Sunseri at 314-3401 or MSunseri@danville.ca.gov.