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Not surprisingly, the East Bay Municipal Utility District declared a stage one drought last week, after California’s driest winter since 1977. Users are being asked to cut water use by 10 percent, as the region heads into summer.

What does that mean for the district’s 1.4 million thirsty customers in much of Contra Costa and Alameda counties? As EBMUD board president Doug Linney said, just before he and his colleagues voted unanimously on the drought declaration, it means customers must “tighten their water belts.”

For the district, it means enacting fallback measures, including buying water from other areas, when there isn’t enough coming from Sierra snow melt through the Mokelumne River, where EBMUD gets most of its water.

Remembering past lessons, the district is moving earlier than in previous droughts, as buying water later means paying more. The district will start buying supplemental water from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Valley Project and start the process of tapping Sacramento River water through the Freeport Regional Water Project, which it’s done during previous droughts.

EMBUD’s Director of Water and Natural Resources Mike Tognolini and Andrew Lee, the agency’s head of customer service, will join Local News Matters at Noon, May 7, to answer questions about the coming drought, including how customers can save water and how the drought will affect rates.

Submit your questions below and read more about the ongoing drought situation here!