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Drought: East Bay MUD Buys 5 Billion Gallons of Delta Water to Meet Water Demands

As California's historic drought continues, the East Bay Municipal Utility District is tapping the Sacramento River to help its 1.3 million customers in Alameda and Contra Costa counties weather the dry spring without water rationing, district officials have announced.
 
For the first time, more than 5 billion gallons of drinking water will be sent via aqueduct from the Sacramento River to East Bay reservoirs to help meet EBMUD customer demand through June, district officials said at a morning news conference next to the San Pablo Reservoir in Orinda.
 
The EBMUD board of directors voted last week to approve the unprecedented $8 million purchase and delivery of Sacramento River water into the San Pablo Reservoir and the Upper San Leandro Reservoir in Oakland, according to the district. District officials say the delivery will add about a month's worth of water to EBMUD's supply.
 
The purchase, made through a federal contract, comes after months of record-low rain and snow runoff levels prompted the district and others statewide to ask customers to cut their water usage.
 
According to a statement from EBMUD, customers have complied with the district's call in February to voluntarily reduce water usage by 10 percent. The transfer of water from the Delta, coupled with a renewed call for customers to maintain the 10 percent cut in water usage, should get the district through the summer, officials said.
 
"The water we are purchasing reduces the immediate need for harsher cutbacks or mandatory rationing and it protects our supply from becoming unacceptably low later this year," EBMUD general manager Alexander Coate said. "We are focused now on helping customers manage their use this summer as temperatures and water demand increases, and preparing for the possibility that this drought continues into 2015," Coate said.
 
If this winter's precipitation levels are as dismal as last winter's, the district will have the option of enacting mandatory rationing, increasing voluntary customer cutbacks or purchasing more water from the Delta.
 
District officials say acquiring the Delta water supply was made possible partly by EBMUD ratepayers' nearly half-billion-dollar investment in the Freeport Water Facility, which includes a water intake on the Delta, 36 miles of pipelines and two water-pumping plants. EBMUD officials said the district is paying for the $8 million supply with proceeds from the sale of a Castro Valley property and budget savings.

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—By Bay City News
Ferruccio May 01, 2014 at 02:40 PM
California has always been California. I believe that there are to many people moving to CA legally and illegally that have contributed to the water shortage.
Emile Bilodeau May 01, 2014 at 03:35 PM
how about less watering of those golf courses, both local and down south. an awful lot of water the LOCALS could be using gets sent down to the playgrounds for the wealthy country club folks. Sure a drought is a drought, but if we must cut back on the water use. Seems to me, drinking water & food crop watering is a much higher priority then a few rounds on the big sponge 18 holed feel good golf courses? but maybe thats just me?
Dror Matalon May 01, 2014 at 04:09 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_in_California "Around 75% of California’s water supply comes from north of Sacramento, while 80% of the water demand occurs in the southern two-thirds of the state.[7] The majority of California water is used by the agricultural industry. About 80-85% of all developed water in California is used for agricultural purposes. This water irrigates almost 29 million acres (120,000 km2), which grows 350 different crops.[8] Urban users consume 10% of the water, or around 8,700,000 acre feet (10.7 km3).[9] Industry receives the remnant of the water supply.[10]"
Terry May 04, 2014 at 12:53 PM
Drought in Texas is worse
Angelmarie Duncan May 08, 2014 at 04:52 PM
Doesn't anyone remember the water conservation rules from the drought in (I think) the late '70's? I do. People were issued citations if they watered their yard from the garden house. Most did not want the hassle of diverting water from the washing machine and bath tub/shower to water their yards. Landscapers were very busy ripping out dead lawns and creating rock gardens.

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