Water conservation efforts are working, says East Bay MUD

East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) happily announced Tuesday that its customers are finally getting the conservation message – and in a big way. When Californians get that there's a real emergency, they usually respond when they're ready.

A year ago, beside a drying out reservoir, Governor Newsom signed an executive order asking Californians to cut their water use by 15%.

"We are encouraging people to do common sense things, like reducing amount of irrigation water out on your lawns, reducing the time you are in a shower," said the Governor.

In the months that followed, water use actually went up. So, in May, Newsom said he was considering ordering mandatory water restrictions.

On Tuesday, East Bay MUD announced that their customer took that threat to heart.

"We're midway through the summer and our customers have gone from 6% conservation in May, to 12% in June, to nearly 17%, 16.5% in the month of July compared to 2020," said Andrea Pook of the East Bay Municipal Utilities District.

"I'm a single person. I don't use a lot of water, overall, but I try not to waste it," said EBMUD customer Sassan Sahami of Orinda.

"I'm doing what I can. I have a large lot, and we landscaped a lot of it. So we've cut down to once a week, different sections, so we water as little as we can," said Barbara Nestal of Orinda.

People are being proactive.

"We've seeing East Bay MUD customers make both short term and long term changes," said Pook. The fact is, a lot of the people are taking the drought very seriously. Example, they still have some landscaping, but where they need grass, they don't put grass in anymore. That includes checking for leaks inside and outside, switching from grass to mulch or stone or gravel or low consumption gardens or just letting it go brown."

"Thirty percent of water is used in the outdoor landscape, and so we believe that's the reason we're seeing the larger numbers right now," continued Pook. 

The signals are everywhere.

"We like to go boating and a lot of the lakes are so low, you can't even get your boat in anymore," said Nestal.

What we save now will mostly be around next year if the drought continues.