OAKLAND (KCBS)— Last week California mandated fines of up to $500 for water wasters prompting Bay Area water agencies to urge usage cutbacks of up to 20 percent. In the East Bay, one water agency says they’re in much better shape.

East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD), spokesperson Abby Figueroa said some planning ahead has paid off during California’s historic drought.

“We went into this drought already with a really impressive amount of conservation left over from the previous drought. In February when we asked our customers to cut back 10 percent, they did exactly that,” Figueroa said.

EBMUD’s extensive reservoir system was able to tap into water from the Sacramento River earlier this year after the construction of a $1 billion water-diversion project, where the cost was split 50-50 between MUD and the Sacramento County Water Agency.  Still, there’s an ongoing message for water customers.

“We’re just doing exactly what we’ve been doing for years, which is just driving home that point to our East Bay customers that you really need to not overuse. You need to be smart indoors and really smart outdoors with your landscape,” she said.

That could change though. Figueroa said if the drought persists, that could result in bigger cutbacks.


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