Water agencies to discuss how to protect local supply

DSRSD board to discuss mandatory restrictions; EBMUD board to debate voluntary conservation, accessing new water source

Preserving the local water supply amid statewide drought will remain the primary theme for the governing boards of the water agencies serving San Ramon and Danville on Tuesday (April 22).

The East Bay Municipal Utility District Board of Directors will consider continuing to ask for voluntary cutbacks and calling on a new -- and potentially costly -- potable water source Tuesday afternoon while the Dublin San Ramon Services District Board of Directors will discuss the prospect of having to soon implement mandatory water restrictions Tuesday evening.

DSRSD provides water service to the Dougherty Valley area of San Ramon. EBMUD's service area includes the rest of San Ramon, the town of Danville and unincorporated Blackhawk and Diablo.

Because of DSRSD's low potable water supply, agency staff is asking the board to discuss possible mandatory restrictions and prohibitions to help achieve a 25% water-use reduction across the service area -- with 5% reduction indoors and 50-60% reduction for outdoor water use.

Potential measures aimed at saving potable water could include restricting outdoor irrigation, banning car washing at homes, turning off water features, penalizing people who fail to fix known leaks and prohibiting restaurants from serving drinking water unless a customer asks for it, according to DSRSD staff.

The mandatory restrictions are up for discussion only Tuesday, with no final decisions scheduled to take place, but the conversations could be the precursor of future board actions.

The DSRSD board will also talk about potential penalties for violating the water restrictions, enforcement of violations, new water rates during the supply shortage, an affordability program for low water users and an enhanced rebate program for water-saving retrofits and replacements.

The public DSRSD board meeting is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday at 7051 Dublin Blvd. in Dublin.

Several hours earlier, the EBMUD board will debate what to do about its low water supply.

Staff for EBMUD -- the water supplier for roughly 1.3 million Bay Area residents -- recommends the agency's board reinforce its call for 10% voluntary conservation, a request board members first made in February.

Additionally, because supplies are so low from the Sierra Nevada Mokelumne River watershed (typically EBMUD's main water source) and local supplies are dwindling, EBMUD staff is asking the board to consider accessing supplemental water from the Freeport Regional Water Facility outside Sacramento.

It would be the first time EBMUD accessed water from Freeport, and there would be new costs associated purchasing, treating and delivering water from the Sacramento River watershed

EBMUD officials said the agency could afford to cover the costs of Freeport water without charging its customers this fiscal year, but a 14% surcharge could be required of ratepayers if EBMUD needs to operate the Freeport facility after June 30, when the new fiscal year begins.

The EBMUD board meeting is scheduled to begin at 1:15 p.m. Tuesday in the second-floor boardroom at 375 11th St. in Oakland.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Julia Pardini
a resident of Alamo
on Apr 22, 2014 at 12:50 pm

I already cut down to one shower a week. I know I stink but its good for the environment. Follow suit everyone!

Thanks for listening.

Julia Pardini from Alamo

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tom
a resident of Danville
on Apr 23, 2014 at 12:53 am

In the past seven years my price of water has gone up 8% each year. That's per cubic foot, not my actual bill. In order to save money, we have cut back water use 8-10% per year, every year. So we keep paying the same for less and less water. What is the end game here?

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ms. bunny
a resident of San Ramon
on Apr 23, 2014 at 8:15 am

Water rates have increased YEARLY since 1995 through EBMUD. Part of their problem is not "stepping in line" since the great recession of 2007-2009 in cutting employee benefits as they continue to pay their employees full medical and that of their immediate families. As a public agency, if they would make an effort to curtail this vast expense in their overhead, maybe I would have more faith in their management. As it is, I'm guessing their pension packages are pretty frightening as well.

El Nino's arrival by October is going to take care of much of our concerns with the current water shortage, and yet if they continue in San Ramon to allow building projects like the upcoming Faria northwest of San Ramon - some 750 homes/apts? Then I see little end to containment of this issue in any respect.

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