OAKLAND – The East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) Board of Directors voted to declare a Stage 1 drought shortage at its April 27, 2021 meeting based on projections that water runoff will fall below what is needed to refill EBMUD reservoirs this year. The Board also voted to purchase supplemental water supplies from the Sacramento River and ask East Bay customers to begin voluntary conservation to save water supplies now in case next year is also dry. EBMUD will track water use in its service area, and adjust outreach, to achieve a 10 percent reduction in total water consumption District-wide.
“This year has been the second driest year on record in our Mokelumne River watershed and the driest year on record in the East Bay,” said Board President Doug Linney. “Fortunately, we started last year well, and our customers continued saving water in our drought-prone region. However, we must take initial actions now to ensure we don’t face harder choices next year.”
Since the last drought, East Bay residents and businesses have continued conserving water, using 13 percent less water in 2020 compared to water use in 2013, at the beginning of the last drought.
“Many customers are already conserving, and we ask them to keep it up. We know there’s room for more conservation from many others. It can be accomplished with simple changes – and EBMUD is here to help,” said Linney.
EBMUD relies on snowmelt and runoff from the Sierra Nevada for most of its supply. As of April 26, the amount of snow and rain in the Mokelumne River watershed, 90 miles from the East Bay, is 54 percent of average and EBMUD reservoirs are 69 percent full. The amount of expected runoff from this year’s rain and snow is approximately 260,000 acre-feet, well below the average of 745,000 acre-feet. While in non-drought years, EBMUD’s average end-of-September storage is about 600,000 acre-feet, EBMUD is projecting total system storage to be less than 500,000 acre-feet this year.