What, stop conserving water in drought-laden California? That’s one new and surprising message we heard today from our water utility. Apparently, East Bay residents saved too much water this past fiscal year, and the East Bay Municipal Water District (EBMUD) revenues dropped…well, yeah.
Earlier today the EBMUD Board of Directors voted unanimously to end water rationing, although 20,000 acre-feet were actually saved. “We would like to thank our customers for cutting back,” said EBMUD spokesman Charles Hardy.
Yes, you read this correctly! Their solution is to thank us for our efforts over the past year, and stop rationing by July 1st. In its place, EBMUD plans to raise rates for all customers 7.5 percent on that day and then tack on another 7.5 percent next year.
It’s been a year since we were told to turn off the spigots and sprinklers, and reduce water usage or pay the fines. Thus we embraced the go-green mentality and urged our neighbors to conserve water. Besides, this conservation ethic seemed like the righteous thing to do.
Now the EBMUD directors have figured out that conservation wasn’t their only goal, as solvency mattered more. We can hear their green eye-shaders explaining that higher rates will work well based on current water consumption levels. Plus customers will act rationally and conserve water because the rates are rising. And if some folks want to use more water, we make more shekels. Got it?