EBMUD suspending water-waster penalties

Board votes to stop ordinance effective May 3 after wet winter

An ordinance that imposes fines on suspected water wasters in the San Ramon Valley and other parts of the East Bay as a reaction to the state's drought is being lifted, according to the East Bay Municipal Utility District.

Citing the recent wet winter that came after seasons of extreme drought, the district's Board of Directors voted unanimously Tuesday to suspend the excessive water use penalty ordinance, effective May 3.

The ordinance was initially adopted in April 2015 by a nearly unanimous vote by the EBMUD board in order to penalize customers using more than 1,000 gallons of water each day.

Specifically, the ordinance fined single-family residential customers $2 for each unit -- or 748 gallons -- used after crossing over an 80-unit threshold.

EBMUD officials said the ordinance was effective in curbing excessive water use. Of the about 5,600 customers fined, around 75% reduced their water use to avoid another penalty, EBMUD officials reported.

Although EBMUD officials said it was not intended to be an additional disincentive, the district periodically released names of violators of the ordinance based on media requests.

A few of the wide-ranging individuals named on EBMUD's lists of violators included San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey, 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov, Motley Crue lead singer Vince Neil, former Chevron executive George Kirkland and Safeway CEO Steven Burd.

There will be another two of these lists released, naming the final violators of the penalty before it is suspended, according to EBMUD.

The penalty ordinance "will remain on the books," EBMUD officials said, in the case an emergency conservation tool is needed to respond to future droughts.

— Bay City News Service

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39 people like this
Posted by Long term resudent
a resident of Danville
on Apr 27, 2016 at 7:21 am

Once again, a short term view is taken on our water issue. We have one wet winter and all is good again until we have another dry winter. I have lived in the valley for 60 years and can tell you we will have more dry winters. Unfortunately, I don't see EBMUD using the fines they collected to help come up with a long term solution. In the meantime, the home builders continue to build and add additional customers to an already stretched infrastructure.

We have almost doubled the population of the state since I have lived here, yet there have been very few water works projects to expand our capacity. We have one of the richest agriculture valleys in the world and can't use it all because of a battle between all the residential users and farmers fighting for water. Let's get real and add reservoirs, desalizinatoon plants, while at he same time improving conservation efforts.

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