The East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) on Tuesday imposed mandatory restrictions on water use to help alleviate California’s drought.
California is facing one of the worst droughts on record, and Gov. Jerry Brown has asked all Californians to reduce water usage by 20 percent and the state has already imposed mandatory restrictions on outdoor water use.
EBMUD’s board today unanimously prohibited using potable water for decorative ponds or fountains, washing cars or boats with a hose without a shutoff nozzle, washing sidewalks or driveways with potable water, irrigating lawns or gardens with potable water more than two days a week and flushing sewers or hydrants with potable water.
While the restrictions are mandatory, the agency isn’t anticipating having to take punitive steps to enforce it, EBMUD spokeswoman Nelsy Rodriguez said.
She said while the district retains the right to install flow-controlling devices and charge fines to customers using too much water, it will instead get customers on board with the restrictions by beefing up public outreach.
“Education works well here,” Rodriguez said. Education has worked well already, she said, as East Bay water customers have voluntarily reduced their water consumption by 10.7 percent since the district asked for a 10 percent reduction in February.
The new mandatory restrictions are intended to get even more people thinking about conserving water and taking steps to do so in their home, she said.
To help, EBMUD is also offering rebate programs for water-saving devices like lawn controllers that put limits on irrigation systems to help customers use less water, Rodriguez said.