News

Diablo resident tops latest EBMUD list of excessive water-users

Alamo most prevalent with 289 customers on list; Danville second with 254

The East Bay Municipal Utility District released Thursday nearly 1,100 names of customers who in a two-month billing cycle used more than 1,000 gallons of water per day and were penalized for it.

Those customers violated the Excessive Use Policy Ordinance, which imposed fines on suspected water wasters as a reaction to the state's drought, according to EBMUD officials. The district Thursday released a partial list of violators, reflecting those billed Sept. 26 to Oct. 9.

The records show a Diablo resident used the most water during the period, and Alamo and Danville were the two communities with the most residents on the list.

The residents' information was released based on media requests, following a similar EBMUD release from two weeks ago that revealed Billy Beane of the Oakland A's, among many others, violated the ordinance.

This time, at 9,612 gallons of water per day, Diablo resident Kumarakulasingam Suriyakumar topped the list of excessive water users. He's an entrepreneur from Sri Lanka who runs a large Walnut Creek-based document solutions company.

Below him on the list were Mike Carvin, a daily 8,764-gallon user, and Thomas Seeno, a daily 7,842-gallon user. Both hail from the construction industry.

Steven Burd, who served as president and CEO of Safeway for more than two decades, used 7,255 gallons of water per day in the billing cycle.

Burd and Seeno are neighbors in Alamo. Carvin lives in Alamo as well. In all, 289 of the customers listed as excessive water users were residents of the small unincorporated community.

Homes in Danville, which had 254 customers on the list, came second in prevalence.

A Danville resident topped the previous list of excessive water users -- George Kirkland, a former Chevron executive who used 12,579 gallons per day. Beane had the third-highest water use at 5,996 gallons.

EBMUD spokeswoman Abby Figueroa, in an Oct. 16 news conference, said the agency expected certain East Bay cities that have large homes with big yards would have more residences facing penalties when the ordinance went into effect in July.

The ordinance penalizes single-family residential customers who exceed 80 units -- with each unit being 748 gallons -- in a billing cycle. Those who exceed the cap, which translates to about 1,000 gallons of water per day, are subject to a $2 penalty for each unit over that 80-unit threshold.

Figueroa said EBMUD's board had to draw a line with the ordinance because "when your primary supplier, Mother Nature, isn't delivering, you need to make some adjustments."

But part of the penalty was never intended to be EBMUD exposing water wasters, she said.

During the news conference, Figueroa stressed that giving the media access to information about customers who violated the ordinance was necessary under public records laws.

"We're protective of our customers' information," she said. "We don't believe drought shaming is the way to go."

— Bay City News Service

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Comments

30 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Oct 30, 2015 at 8:47 am

What is with this water shaming b.s.? Where are all you liberal privacy rights people!!!! Why is it ok to water shame people but not talk about who's using the most alcohol, hookers, food, gas, etc. etc. Why not open up medical records and say who has the most prescription drugs in the area. What give EBMUD the right to publish peoples water records? Enough of the water shaming.


10 people like this
Posted by Ben
a resident of Danville
on Oct 30, 2015 at 9:05 am

I randomly flush my toilet just for the hell of it.


Like this comment
Posted by Amused
a resident of Danville
on Oct 30, 2015 at 9:06 am

Who is Dennis E. Baca and why is he on the list (Web Link) multiple times?


6 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Danville
on Oct 30, 2015 at 9:25 am

Don't you know that the water rationing only applys to the little people. Those of means in the right locations are immune from such petty regulations.


24 people like this
Posted by NotAmused
a resident of Alamo
on Oct 30, 2015 at 9:28 am

So, I'm trying to understand all this. It seems if you have the financial resources to pay for all the water you want, then you are exempt from having to save water during this severe drought. We have found that our plants and trees are doing fine with our 40% reduction in water....lawns not so much. 3000, 5000, 9000 gallons per day is beyond absurd...and morally repugnant.


9 people like this
Posted by JT
a resident of Danville
on Oct 30, 2015 at 9:33 am

Water is a limited government agency provided public resource and the state asked all users to reduce usage. I am sure most of it is going to their landscaping, and if they are wealthy enough to support yards of the size assumed to be needing that much water, I am sure they don't care about a small penalty. The water people consume is provided by a massive and complicated government provided infrastructure system. There is no way any of these homes would have access to this kind of water if it were not provided to them at their curb. How many people if they had the financial resources would turn off their water spigots and kill 100s of thousands of dollars of landscaping because of a relatively paltry dollar per month penalty. So don't expect them to stop because of shaming. It just means they will find a way to justify it publicly.


10 people like this
Posted by David
a resident of Danville
on Oct 30, 2015 at 10:25 am

Public shaming for using water ? This is an outrage. If these folks want to pay for excessive use, let them. And I'm guessing they can afford it so buzz off EBMUD. Releasing their names publicly ? Really ? When the city continues to allow permits to build new housing and approve massive new landscaping projects. Gimme a break. If they ever released my name to the public they better be ready for war. A legal war.


16 people like this
Posted by Peter Kluget
a resident of Danville
on Oct 30, 2015 at 11:22 am

David and resident, my faucet delivers EBMUD drinking water that tastes like it was pumped out of a swamp while - and in no small part because - other folks are pouring thousands of gallons of EBMUD water onto the ground. You're upset about "shaming?" Maybe if you didn't do things you should be ashamed of it wouldn't be a problem. Water is a shared resource. You didn't make it, you just took more of it than other people because you have an overweening sense of entitlement. Well, guess what? You're not entitled to secrecy in doing whatever the heck you feel like doing when it negatively impacts others in the community. The folks who are affected by your actions are entitled to know who you are and what you've done.

Don't want to be shamed? Don't act in shameful ways.


7 people like this
Posted by David
a resident of Danville
on Oct 30, 2015 at 12:39 pm

And I'm willing to bet you, Peter, are using more water than others in the community. Are you ashamed of yourself ? It's all relative Peter.

If someone owns at 15,000 square foot house with 4 kids and on a 2 acre lot they ARE going to use more water than a 'normal' person in a 1,800 square foot house on a 10k foot lot. That's not entitlement. That's reality. If they use more than the 'allotted' amount to simply live and keep their landscaping from dying they will pay a fine. If I recently paid $500k for new landscaping and a new pool and my net worth is 30 million, I can chose to pay the fine. It's my choice. EBMUD GAVE ME THAT OPTION. Don't assume that they are WASTING vs MAINTAINING the huge cost of their property that they worked hard to afford.


13 people like this
Posted by Herman Glates
a resident of Danville
on Oct 30, 2015 at 12:40 pm

Herman Glates is a registered user.

I’m on the water waster list. Web Link

At first I was bummed. I didn’t want my name in the paper. KQED even published a map so you can see where the water wasters live. Web Link

But then I saw that all my neighbors are on the list too and they use MORE water than me. LOL!!!

I can’t wait to shame all of them at our next block party!


11 people like this
Posted by Anne Marcus
a resident of Alamo
on Oct 30, 2015 at 2:16 pm

Do any of you know HOW EBMUD comes up with this list??? Well,let me tell you: they picked a number of gallons per person per day and then multiplies it by the number of persons living on the home.Do they consider the size of the property: NO!!! Do they consider the size of the house: NO! Do they consider the ages of the people in that house: NO! When asked why,their answer is: we're working on it!! So,this arbitrary number is the same whether you live on a flat 60x80' lot or in the hills. It's no accident that most of the folks on that list live in Alamo/Danville/Lafayette/Orinda. It makes NO difference if your house is 90 sq.' or 9,000 sq '. The ELECTED EBMUD board consists mostly of "flat landers" tied in closely with environmentalists of all shapes and sizes. Also,according to the SJ mercury over 450 of EBMUD employees make OVER $200,000 annually. The monetary increases over the last few time periods are being used to offset pensions and salaries. Typical of a public agency or in this case a quasi- public agency instead of trimming costs to accommodate water users using LESS,they just INCREASE the rates!!!
Per Gov. Brown's edict,we are to use 20% LESS than our usage in 2013.Personally,we've replaced ALL of our grass with turf,using NO water and replaced plants,etc.with drought tolerant species.Does that make any difference to EBMUD??? NO! We are using 50% LESS than the same time periods now than in 2013.Is that good enough for EBMUD? NO!!
I also mentioned consideration for age: think about it: retired people ( a fairly high % in EBMUD's territory) are home more,eat at home more and logically use more water than a person who leaves their home at 6AM and doesn't return until after dinner.....
This "shaming" BS is defensive: so that rate payers don't look behind the curtain.


7 people like this
Posted by C. R. Mudgeon
a resident of Danville
on Oct 30, 2015 at 2:56 pm

I agree with Anne Marcus' comments, above. The limits and penalty cut-offs make no allowance for yard size, type of dwelling, and a host of other variables. I am also skeptical of EBMUD's protestations that they don't want to publish the list, they just have to... It is one thing to provide statistics, and quite another to publish the names and addresses of people who have committed no crime. It is also true that this list doesn't tell you how much of a percentage reduction the named people have made, from the 2013 baseline year.

Actually, given the high prices that the "list people" are paying for their water, with penalties, we should probably thank them for helping to keep EBMUD in business, thereby reducing the amount of rate increase for next year. (Since EBMUD's costs are largely independent of water usage, and are dominated by salaries, benefits, and pensions.) If all of the big water users shut off their water entirely, the rest of us would have to pay more...

Actually, low-water users are already being heavily subsidized by high-water users, due to our tiered rate system (even before the penalties), and the fact that the real cost of water service has more to do with access to the water, than the amount used. The water mains and pipes to low-water users cost just about the same as the water mains and pipes to the high-users. And people who live in the hills are already paying an "elevation" charge, to reflect the higher cost of pumping. Be thankful that EBMUD doesn't have a rate structure that tracks their cost structure...

Just so I am not accused of being self-serving, my own water usage is well under the penalty level, and is down 35-40% from 2013. But at the same time, I have not been willing to let my small lawn die totally - I have just tried to water as little as possible to get by.


3 people like this
Posted by Good Neighbor
a resident of Danville
on Oct 30, 2015 at 4:22 pm

Interestingly enough, this lead water violator was also involved with the recent human trafficking investigation. Does anyone know what happened?

Web Link

According to the county assessor, the house was purchased on June 25 for $1.6 million by Kumarakulasingam and Rushika Suriyakumar. Kumarakulasingam Suriyakumar is the president and CEO of ARC Document Solutions, a publicly traded company in Walnut Creek.

He declined to comment for this article through his assistant.


1 person likes this
Posted by vj
a resident of Danville
on Oct 30, 2015 at 5:12 pm

Some of the comments are disturbing. Instead of addressing the water usage issue, turns to EBMUD employees and their salaries etc. That is irrelevant. The issue is everyone should share the responsibility of using less water until the situation improves.
I replaced my new lawn (became dry due to lack of water) with artificial turf. It costed me quite a bit. EBMUD does not even offer a rebate!!


7 people like this
Posted by Ralphie
a resident of Danville
on Oct 30, 2015 at 6:04 pm


oh yeah, astro turf always classes up a neighborhood. lol. just get some bark or mulch dude.


Like this comment
Posted by Anne Marcus
a resident of Alamo
on Oct 30, 2015 at 7:50 pm

Hey Ralphie, I also replaced by lawn (s) with Turf...most people who see it from the street,can't tell the difference.AND,it's hella expensive. So,before you diss anyone,think.
As for salaries/pensions, vj,it IS relevant. Much MORE than 50% of your water bill is used to pay those....


3 people like this
Posted by Raider Nation
a resident of Danville
on Oct 31, 2015 at 7:29 am

Everyone knows brown is the new green. To hell with their landscape! Get some succulents.

These arrogant people shouldn't be wasting tons of precious water. -Period.


15 people like this
Posted by Herman Glates
a resident of Danville
on Oct 31, 2015 at 8:10 am

Herman Glates is a registered user.

Fake grass looks fake.

You’re like the guy who wears a toupee and thinks no one can tell.

We can tell.

It looks like crap.


6 people like this
Posted by Raider Nation
a resident of Danville
on Oct 31, 2015 at 10:02 am

It looks hot.


7 people like this
Posted by Ralphie
a resident of Danville
on Oct 31, 2015 at 2:17 pm

Anne,
Have you read the articles and numerous reports about the rubber products seeded in the turf causing illness and freakish rashes on some athletes who play on it ? Especially High School kids. You think you're being environmentally friendly by putting used up tire rubber and other unknown materials and compounds on your front yard ? lol.

Oh, and because it's 'hella expensive' it doesnt make it look better. You should have said 'NO' to the guy sitting at the table at Home Depot selling the garbage.)


9 people like this
Posted by RW Cook
a resident of Danville
on Nov 1, 2015 at 8:50 am

Where's the shaming of the state officials who have done nothing to contain more water? The media talks of extreme drought but CA's rainfall has averaged 85% of normal the last five years. Seems to me we should have the capacity to address that without panic. And if we don't, build more reservoirs and a desalination plant or two.


2 people like this
Posted by frankly
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 2, 2015 at 6:41 am

Very difficult to comprehend how any household would not see nor calculate the drastic over use of water at any point in time.

With that massive over watering due to "any broken" water line, one would see the surfacing water or sponginess due to excess water being used.

Now a broken water line is to blame. Like no one is home monitoring the excess or using prudent caution to monitor DURING A MOST SEVERE DROUGHT IN THE STATE!!!


4 people like this
Posted by cardinal
a resident of Diablo
on Nov 2, 2015 at 4:15 pm

@Kluget: "You're upset about 'shaming?' Maybe if you didn't do things you should be ashamed of it wouldn't be a problem." ... "Don't want to be shamed? Don't act in shameful ways."

Wait, 'Peter,' you're really my mom, aren't you? I happen to agree with glut-shaming publication, here, because water IS a limited, shared, zero-sum resource. You make the above point Twice in your rant, however, which is more than a little over-emphasis. I half expected you to followup with a "if your water guzzling friends, or even Herman Glates, jumped off the GG bridge ..."

There are plenty of behaviors that are private and exactly nobody's business -- that's the general point that is too-often lost around here. Water use is just a limited exception to that rule.

Okay, then. Carry on.


Like this comment
Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on Nov 3, 2015 at 12:10 pm

Here's a little tidbit for the more sane readers and posters:

There is a copper or galvanized iron pipe that runs from the meter on your curb, up to your house. Both iron or copper have about a 40 year lifespan, and any corner joints have a bit less. Is your house more than 35 years old? If so, your feed line could be leaking, and it could be leaking a lot. Turn off the main shutoff valve outside your house, pull the cover off the cement water meter box, and take a reading. Go away for a few hours, then read it again. If the gauge has moved, you have a problem.

There is widespread misinformation being spewed by plumbers and other "people of wisdom" that you will have a swampy area if this is taking place. You might, but you also might not, and a lot of folks who should know better totally fail to get this.

The depths at which this pipe runs, and the depth at which any clay layer runs, can effect what you see (or don't see) on the surface, as can a heavily undercut yard where moles have been at work. Don't assume you have no leak just because your front yard is not as wet as Hermans's.

I won't lie- if you find there is a problem, it's tough finding anyone who will fix it, but you can do it yourself. The city of Danville wants you to pull a permit so that they may pass judgement on whether you or your contractor has done the job correctly, and with the right material. So here's another helpful Derek hint: Don't donate money to the city. Materials like PEX can work as well or better than their code (copper) material, and half the time Danville's inspectors don't know what they are talking about anyway.


2 people like this
Posted by Anne Marcus
a resident of Alamo
on Nov 3, 2015 at 1:33 pm

Ralphie, 1) Didn't get it at Home Depot; 2) The ONLY in fill used is SAND. Clean,sterilized SAND. 3) It doesn't look fake either: darker with longer blades of "grass" and thatching in it.Like I said before, Think and I'll add go look before dissing.


Like this comment
Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on Nov 4, 2015 at 2:09 pm

I believe Anne when she says it looks fairly natural (though it's also a given that the more you spend the better it will look), but beyond the steep cost of replacing a large lawn is also the heat factor. Every time I have been next to, or walked on, the artificial lawns in the Summer, they are about equal to being on blacktop. In San Mateo that might be okay, but it's pretty hot here more than half the year. I want to replace our lawn asap, but I have yet to find a good alternative that can easily have leaves blown out of it - and our lawn is way too big to do that by hand. Plus any flexible plastic product like fake grass is loaded with phthalates.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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