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EBMUD Suspends Excessive Water Use Penalty

The EBMUD board of directors has suspended the excessive water use penalty. (Google Street View)

The EBMUD board of directors has suspended the excessive water use penalty. (Google Street View)

Yesterday, the East Bay Municipal Utility District board of directors (EBMUD) voted unanimously to suspend its excessive water use penalty ordinance, which levied fines on customers who used more than 80 units of water per billing cycle.

The utility cited the recent wet weather, which translates into fuller reservoirs, as a reason for suspending the ordinance. The daily water supply report, as of Monday, showed EBMUD reservoirs at 92 percent of capacity.

The ordinance suspension is set to effect on May 3. However, the ordinance will remain on the books to be called into service in future droughts.

Adopted by the board of directors in April of last year, the ordinance specifically targeted customers who used more than 1,000 gallons of water per day.

The utility says that three-quarters of those assessed with a penalty reduced their water use below the threshold to avoid repeat penalties. Overall, EBMUD customers have reduced water use by 24 percent compared to consumption in 2013.

The district plans to release two final excessive use drought-shaming reports, one this month and another in May.

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