EMWD Relaxes Local Drought Restrictions

Perris, CA (February 15, 2017)-As a result of significantly improved water supply conditions and the overwhelming customer response to conserve, Eastern Municipal Water District's Board of Directors today unanimously voted to ease local water use restrictions effective immediately.

The Board action returns EMWD into Stage 2 of its Water Shortage Contingency Plan, which calls for a voluntary 20 percent reduction in water use. EMWD was previously in Stage 3c. In this stage Tier 3 of its allocation based rate structure was temporarily suspended.

Starting with bills dated 2/17/17, customers who exceed their water budget will be charged at the Tier 3/Excessive rate ($6.22 per billing unit in most areas) for usage that falls between 101 percent and 150 percent of their water budget. Any usage above that volume would then be charged at the Tier 4/Wasteful rate ($11.38 per billing unit in most areas). Tier 3 had been suspended since June 1, 2015, resulting in all usage in excess of a customers' water budget being billed at the highest price point.

"We sincerely appreciate the commitment our customers have made to help both our region and state conserve water during this unprecedented drought," EMWD President David Slawson said. "While we are still recovering from the drought, it is evident that we are no longer in a state of emergency with regards to our water supplies and it is important that our drought status reflects that."

EMWD's long-term water use efficiency standards will remain in place, including prohibitions on water waste and non-functional turf in new developments. In Stage 2 of EMWD's Water Shortage Contingency Plan, customers will be permitted variances for the filling or refilling of swimming pools and the establishment of new landscape.

Since June 1, 2015, EMWD customers have cumulatively saved 28,000 acre feet of water when compared to pre-drought consumption figures. One acre foot is approximately 326,000 gallons - or enough for two households for a year.

On February 8, 2017, the State Water Resources Control Board extended statewide emergency regulations. EMWD opposed that action due to improved statewide water supply conditions, with near record-setting snowpack and rapidly filling reservoir levels. EMWD's Board of Directors on February 1, 2017, adopted a resolution asking that Governor Jerry Brown direct the State Water Board to end the drought emergency regulations and instead focus its efforts on long-term water use efficiency standards.

"Like all Californians, EMWD customers responded with record-setting conservation because they understood that we were in an unprecedented emergency," Slawson said. "As we are no longer facing such critical conditions, it is equally important that we adjust our policies so that we can maintain public trust. To do otherwise would be counter to our guiding principle of being accountable in serving our customers."