East Bay eases drought restrictions due to recent storm activity, downgrades to ‘Phase 1’ as reservoirs fill

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) — A silver lining to the record storms that hit the state of California in 2023: East Bay’s water supply reservoirs are expected to fill completely, which are currently 88% full.

The East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) says that because of this, it is now transitioning from a “Stage 2” drought to a “Stage 1” drought.

This means the district, which serves 1.4 million customers in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, is suspending the excessive water use penalty order for the time being and moving from a mandatory 10% conservation. to a voluntary 10% reduction in water consumption.

RELATED: Governor Gavin Newsom ends some water limits after storms ease drought

“We are more than satisfied here at EBMUD, and I’m sure all of our customers are relieved that we had the rain and snow we’ve seen this season,” said EBMUD spokesperson Andrea Pook.

This is in addition to the end of the 8% drought surcharge already at the beginning of March.

In addition to the heavy rains the area has experienced, with more snow runoff expected, customers have also helped conserve 32,000 acre-feet of water since April 2020.

MORE: Governor Newsom stresses need for conservation during visit to SoCal water recycling facility

And while EBMUD celebrates this news after years of restrictions, it indicates that we are not quite out of the woods yet.

“Yeah, it’s wet,” Pook said. “Is the preservation over? Not really and really never, forever because we live in a very dry climate and, despite the humidity we see, we know that drought is cyclical in California, and in fact it is only getting worse. “

Although Governor Newsom has yet to declare an end to the drought, it comes after he ended some of the state’s water restrictions last Friday and would stop asking people to voluntarily reduce their consumption. 15% water.

MORE: Bay Area, rest of California fails to meet Governor Newsom’s voluntary 15% water conservation goal

Despite the relaxation of these restrictions in the East Bay, EBMUD still prohibits watering within 48 hours of rain, irrigating non-functioning turf and washing cars without shut-off nozzles.

And more changes may be on the way.

EBMUD will assess its snow and rainfall data for the year at the end of next month and depending on how things go, Pook says they could ease restrictions further by the end of April.

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