East Bay MUD reminds conservation is key, especially in heat

When the weather heats up, the temptation is to use more water, but East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) is reminding the public the drought is not over despite recent storms.

In Walnut Creek on Wednesday, the temperature hovered in the 80s. People said they are mindful of the drought and that they will continue to conserve water.

At Autopia Car Wash on N. Main Street, business is brisk.

One customer brings his fleet of vans here, instead of washing them himself.

"It's much more convenient and uses less water, so that's why we do it," says Ron Christensen, owner of I-Caramba Mobile Smartphone Store.

The car wash manager says workers use recycled and filtered water as part of their conservation efforts.

He says the drought has brought a flood of new business.

"Between 2011 and 2015, we were up 65 percent in the number of cars we did in one year," says Jim Schwartz, manager of Autopia Car Wash.

From Oakland, East Bay MUD monitors the water system that supplies Walnut Creek and other cities.

A picture of the Pardee Reservoir, taken last week, shows it looking pretty full, but East Bay MUD says reservoirs system wide are currently at 68 percent, so conservation is still needed.

"Even though it's warm outside, keep saving. We're still in a drought. One year of rain doesn't erase four years of drought and we don't know what’s ahead," says Tracie Morales-Noisy, East Bay MUD spokeswoman.

Walnut Creek homeowner Don Henderson says he conserves by having the grass removed from both his front and back yards.

He replaced it mostly with drought resistant plants.

He says he uses recycled water from the shower and a drip system to save even more water.

Conservation he says is now a way of life.

"We fluctuate according to the weather. We water more when it's hotter. We water less when it's raining or we just turn it off period," says Henderson. But he says others are not as conservation minded.

Currently, Californians are being asked to conserve 20 percent.

The State Water Resources Control Board meets later this month to consider the next steps, including changing restrictions.

"If they let people go back to where they were before the drought, if we have another drought , we're going to go through the same thing again. What we need to do is conserve all the time," said Schwartz.

Water officials say with the unpredictable weather, conservation is key.