The East Bay Municipal Utility District's board of directors voted Tuesday to ask their customers to continue voluntarily cutting their water use by 10% because the dry winter has reduced the amount of water in the agency's reservoirs.
The board also approved the purchase of 16,000 acre-feet of water, which is about a month's supply, to help meet the needs of its 1.3 million customers in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, including Danville and parts of San Ramon.
"We are in a statewide drought, one of the most severe in decades. Yet, at EBMUD we are in relatively decent shape especially when compared to numerous other agencies," said board member John Coleman, whose district includes Danville and San Ramon.
Water agency officials said its customers have already heeded their call to cut their water use voluntarily the past two months.
The water from the Sacramento River via the Freeport Regional Water Facility will flow into two East Bay reservoirs: the Upper San Leandro Reservoir in Oakland and the San Pablo Reservoir, which is located between Orinda and El Sobrante.
EBMUD staff members said today that their worst-case water supply forecast is that the agency's reservoirs could be less than half full by this fall.
But board president Andy Katz said in a statement, "A severe drought does not mean severe cutbacks" because of customers' ongoing conservation measures and prudent water management by the agency.
"Over the last decade we have invested over $1 billion on supply, source, storage and infrastructure," Coleman said. "Without the investment, and current water-savings compared to usage in 1976, we would have possibly had to impose mandatory rationing as high as 35% like we did back in 1976/1977."
EBMUD officials said if precipitation levels are low again next winter they could increase the amount of voluntary customer cutbacks beyond 10%, enact mandatory rationing or buy more Sacramento River water.