Some East Bay residents may have to prepare for stage 1 drought

Bay Area

LAFAYETTE, Calif. (BCN) — The East Bay Municipal Utility Board of Directors will consider officially declaring a stage 1 drought at its meeting Tuesday.

Staff members from the utility provider will present its 2021 Water Supply Availability and Deficiency Report and recommend the board establish a district-wide voluntary water use reduction of 10 percent.

Under that scenario, the district would also purchase supplemental water from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Valley Project. Most of EBMUD’s water comes from Sierra snowmelt above the Mokelumne River.

The board will also consider tapping Sacramento River water through the Freeport Regional Water Project, which it’s done during previous droughts. The Freeport facility is a joint EBMUD project with the Sacramento County Water Agency.

A summary of the latest WSDAR report says EBMUD’s “water supply is not sufficient for meeting customer demands and storage targets after meeting flow obligations in the Lower Mokelumne River.”

Through April 18, “Mokelumne precipitation” was at 54 percent of average, according to the report, which also said East Bay precipitation was at 33 percent of normal. Statewide, rainfall numbers are at 34 percent, the lowest since 1977.

As of April 18, EBMUD storage facilities were at 69 percent capacity. Pardee is the healthiest, at 89 percent of capacity, followed by Camanche at 56 percent. The East Bay supply is at 69 percent capacity, according to the report.

It also says the Northern Sierra/Trinity snowpack was at 36 percent of normal on April 19, with the Central Sierra at 42 percent. The Southern Sierra was at 18 percent of normal.

If the plan is implemented, starting May 1, EBMUD will begin informing customers about drought conditions and ways to reduce water use through available platforms. The district will also educate and inform about preparing for drought and implementing conservation measure for more efficient use indoors and outdoors.

Tuesday’s virtual public meeting of EBMUD’s board of directors begins at 1:15 p.m. and can be found at https://bit.ly/3dMh2yJ, webinar ID 970 6508 6667 and passcode 238500. Or call (669) 900-6833.

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