OAKLAND (KCBS) — Water wasters in the East Bay are looking at new outdoor water restrictions as well as penalties because of California’s exceptional drought.

The East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) could officially declare as soon as Tuesday the region is in a severe drought, which could lead to an excessive use penalty for the top two percent of water users.

“We will have a penalty that will show up on customer’s bills on single family residential customers who use more than four-and-a-half times the average customer’s use,” said EBMUD spokeswoman Abby Figueroa.

She said another idea that could be debated at a later time is to impose a drought surcharge of up to 25 percent.

“As of July 1st, the average water customer who pays about $50 a month for their bill can probably expect to see an increase of about $11,” she said.

Figueroa said the district would use that money to purchase additional water from outside the region, although nothing has been finalized yet.

The EBMUD board will discuss its response to the drought at its next meeting Tuesday afternoon.

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