14
Apr
09

Never Mind, Stop Conserving Water

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.

Water Sprinkler

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?

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4 Responses to “Never Mind, Stop Conserving Water”


  1. April 14, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    Huh. I guess too many people were conserving well and ending up at the lowest rate tier where they didn’t get to charge extra. But rate change or no, the Sierra snowpack is still below normal for the 3rd year in a row, so this doesn’t make much sense.

  2. 2 Patrick
    April 14, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    My last water bill showed that I (single man, 3 bedroom, 2 bath yard, large vegetable garden) managed on only 31 gallons a day average over the past year (My allocation is 4600 gallons per month). Last month’s bill included a “water-wise rebate”: 48 cents! What is really sickening is that only people using over 10,000 gallons per month were charged a nominal “drought” fee. If they wanted to, they could reward those of us who saved water by “soaking” (sorry) the profligate water users. But I guess punishing everyone is easier.

  3. 3 Andy K
    April 16, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Agree with Patrick – raise the rates of the highest users, or cut costs. This is very short sighted. EBMUD should not be looking to break the good habits of their customers. They should encourage them. We live in a dry climate, which is projected to get drier. I will be sure to send them my disgusted feelings.

    I don’t have my bill in front of me, but we (family of 4) reduce our water usage substantially. Yellow, let it mellow, brown, flush it down. Also, one thing that worked great was saving water while the shower/dish washing water was warming up. I collected the cold water in a watering can for the plants. I now do a much better job of water the plants more – they have never looked better.


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