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EBMUD releases latest list of excessive water users

Original post made on Nov 13, 2015

The East Bay Municipal Utility District released a set of names Thursday of excessive water users in the utility district's service area, with the top 10 featuring four customers from Danville and two each from Alamo and Diablo.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, November 12, 2015, 9:54 PM

Comments (21)

Posted by Americn
a resident of Tassajara Hills Elementary School
on Nov 13, 2015 at 6:36 am

We are slowly losing our freedom. Public shaming and revealing names is something one might expect in another country, not the US. While excess water use is not desirable, I find publishing names more rancorous.

Posted by Martha
a resident of Alamo
on Nov 13, 2015 at 8:20 am

According to the EBMUD rep who came to our house to approve our water saving project of removing our lawn, EBMUD is only releasing these names because the newspapers are demanding the information. Puts a totally different spin on the situation.

Posted by Peter Kluget
a resident of Danville
on Nov 13, 2015 at 8:37 am

"Losing our freedom?" Seriously? This is the "freedom" you're worried about?

If we had an infinite supply of water, and the only issue was the cost of pumping it into your house you might have an argument for asserting that it was nobody's business how much you use. But water is a finite resource these days. We all have to share what's available. People who use thousands of gallons a day are literally taking it away from their neighbors. And you think that letting the community know who is doing that threatens "freedom?"

I'm beginning to think that the concept of "freedom" has lost all meaning. Apparently the entitled class now thinks it means "I have the right to do whatever I want as long as I have enough money, and nobody else can even be allowed to know I'm doing it."

Posted by Danville mom
a resident of Danville
on Nov 13, 2015 at 9:14 am

Thank you Peter. I so agree with you. We have to let our lawn die and water our plants with shower water. Is that beneath them. If they keep using the water the way they are their won't be any for the rest of us. Just because they have money!! Shame on them.

Posted by PSMacintosh
a resident of Danville
on Nov 13, 2015 at 11:21 am

First of all, where is the full list of names. An article about names, but without the names. Great reporting! (said sarcastically)

Secondly, I'm not convinced that we are comparing apples to apples here with this "list".
On one end of the spectrum, there is a single person living in a studio condo unit with no landscaping.
On the other end of the spectrum of this list (apparently), are 20-acre estates with multiple residence units, pool, landscaping, and an unstated number of people.......or a business that washes their trucks......or whatever.
These water usage numbers become "meaningless" without that detailed context and the list becomes an invalid "political smear campaign."

The Discovery Practice Management in Danville is a corporate business--an office with lots of people and bathrooms.
For all we know, this business may be doing a great job of conserving water in comparison to another similar counseling practice. We can't tell that from this "list".

Thirdly, water policies that operate on the concept of measuring "how much you conserved over last year" are not necessarily valid, effective, or fair.
I, for one, use much less water than the average person. I also use methods (such as saving shower, bath, and sink water for other re-uses--toilet flushing, general cleaning, and landscape watering) that many people would find too laborious or distasteful. And I've been doing so for years, even in non-drought years.
To ask me to conserve 12-20% MORE water each year is ludicrous. And then to not reward me for my current conservation, or, even worse, to charge me more for not meeting their "goal" of further reduction, is not good (not encouraging the goal of true conservation).
And then there are those people who have been wasting tons of water for years who, without much effort or sacrifice at all, are easily able to conserve their 12-20% of water without batting an eye in the 1 or 2 years that the policy is implemented and they get "rewarded" for that--by some stupidly designed water policy--when they are still using way more than the average person.

Fourthly, it is very frustrating to be someone who conserves tons of water, often due to the necessity to reduce living costs/expenses, and then have the Water Company RAISE RATES the next year because it doesn't have enough money for its "needs and desires"--the money that it EXPECTED and DESIRED to have to keep its fat empire of (union) employees getting more raises, hires, and reduced hours and fires.

Posted by Peter Kluget
a resident of Danville
on Nov 13, 2015 at 1:17 pm

PSM, it's hard to know where to start with your misconceptions and complaints about things that aren't actually happening.

First, the list of publicized names only includes the extreme water users - over 1,000 gallons a day for residences, higher base lines for different types of businesses. So it is pretty much apples to apples.

1,000 gallons a day is far more than needed for personal residential use - even with the largest family. I understand that landscaping large lots uses water, but a lot of us are letting stuff die, resigned to the fact that we'll have to undertake work and expense to replace it when (if) there's enough water to justify pouring it on the ground. People who use thousands of gallons to water plants... well, that's a choice, isn't it?

As to your "thirdly" - people have been asked to cut back compared to 2013, the last pre-(serious) drought year. And what I discovered is that personal water use - showers, washing, etc. - actually uses far less water than watering the lawn does. Made it pretty easy to cut back. Have you suffered such any punishment for faiing to cut back?

Finally, EBMUD doesn't "make" water. It just gathers it and distributes it. That actually costs more in a drought year than in a year of average rainfall. That's why rates go up, not because of "desires" or "empire building."

Posted by member
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 13, 2015 at 1:39 pm

If water is so scarce, why do our local planning department keep approving more new housing developments?! These new residents have no history to be held to on conservation goals.

Posted by Anne Marcus
a resident of Alamo
on Nov 13, 2015 at 2:38 pm

IMO,it really doesn't matter how much water is or isn't used by an EBMUD customer.What does matter is HISTORY.Do you know that the ONLY item that EBMUD takes into consideration is the number of people per household. It matters not the size of house/lot.They also do not take into consideration if those individuals work ( out of the house from sunrise to sundown,are retired ( home a good % of time,are disabled,etc...When asked why none of this is taken into consideration,a supervisor's comment was: we're working on it.That was 4 months ago.
For various reasons,we've cut our usage by 50% over our 2013 usages.Yet,our bills have NOT decreased for the same reasons enumerated by PS Macintosh.Why is that? Because there has been NO decrease in expenses by EBMUD or any other cost saving practices.They think like a public utility: if we need more $$$,we'll increase our biggie.
This also brings up a vital subject: what is being done by the 6 state departments that involve water usage and the OVER 400 separate water districts? There is a terrific series being done by NBC,Bay Area. "We Investigate" went to Israel to see how,a country in the middle of the Negev desert has so much water that they SELL 20% to neighbouring countries. In the interviews,it is brought out that Israel was in the same position 8 years ago that CA is in today.They've created an infrastructure that recycles both waste water and sea water for use,ALL of their agriculture is on drip,etc.. Where are they getting their technology? From SILICON VALLEY.Last I looked,this is in CALIFORNIA. Why are they selling their products to Israel,the UAE and other ME countries? Because their is NO interest by ANY California entity political or otherwise.Makes me think there are ulterior motives in keeping CA dry.....

Posted by grandma
a resident of Alamo
on Nov 13, 2015 at 5:15 pm

Two days ago a water main broke down our street. Near a newly built home. Don't know if there was a link between the new house and pipe break. But that AM the rest of the family took their showers first. When it was my turn, there was NO water. Like PG&E have brown outs maybe EBMUD can have H2O outs. A big shock when you turn that faucet on and nothing comes out. A whole different perspective.

Posted by American
a resident of Danville
on Nov 13, 2015 at 5:41 pm

Peter Kluget, doesn't it bother you and your liberal friends that EBMUD knows how many people live in your household? Aren't you the same people who cry and whine when police use wiretaps to prevent terrorist attacks, as it is government infringing your privacy rights? Isn't EBMUD, a government entity, violating your sacred privacy rights by finding out how many people live in your household? Liberals love the " water police" and will allow them to do whatever is necessary without worrying about privacy, but hate "real police" who keep us safe from terrorism and cry about privacy rights. Something smells, besides that toilet you are not flushing.

Posted by Bob Beamon
a resident of another community
on Nov 14, 2015 at 8:44 am

Anyone who thinks white man can't jump, has never seen American's work with a conclusion.

Posted by Sharon
a resident of Danville
on Nov 15, 2015 at 6:15 am

My family is screwed. Our conservation started years ago, and cutting back any more is not an option. Our lawn is brown, we removed our pool, we shower much less and replaced appliances with those that use much less water, yet our bill remains a monster. We use Much less than my friend down the street, who has fewer people in the house, yet our bill is more. I can only conclude that wasting water in previous years would have been in our best interest.

I have mixed feelings about the list. Previously an EBMUD spokesperson stated that this list was not released for the purpose of public shaming, and I think I find that position more offensive than the list. She must think we are idiots.

@Martha, EBMUD does not have to share anything with a news outlet, regardless of how "demanding" the request. When those names are shared, EBMUD officials are doing it freely.

Posted by Longtime Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 15, 2015 at 4:38 pm

Actually Sharon, you're mistaken. EBMUD is required by law to release the info per Government Code section 6254.16 and upheld in New York Times Co. v. Superior Court (1990) 218 Cal.App.3d 1579.

Posted by Did I say that Outloud
a resident of Danville
on Nov 16, 2015 at 12:01 am

Public shaming ... this must fall into our new world of Offended by Everything ... the easiest way to avoid "public shaming" is take responsibility for whatever is causing it and stop that behavior. I don't care if your property is the size of a postage stamp or 10 acres, water restriction is water restriction.

Posted by frankly
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 16, 2015 at 6:33 am

Seemingly all good thoughts.

However, I believe that the real issue is the lack of state wide provisions for holding water, meaning constructing more dams.

But they have been held up by environmental groups threaten policitans who hide from the fundamental topic: more dams. And focus on rapid trains as if that were a topic for immediately concern. Necessary but not yet. WATER IS THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL NEED!!

To focus on more dams would pretty much eliminate the water shortage.

Yes there are always those who will abuse anything and miss use water.

But with an expanding population rate, and less water, there IS ONLY ONE SOLUTION: MORE DAMS!!

Posted by Dave
a resident of Danville
on Nov 16, 2015 at 12:47 pm

"For all we know" -- PSMacintosh -- "Discovery Practice Management" might not be a small house with a well landscaped property that operates a drug addiction and rehab practice on that site.

Posted by C. R. Mudgeon
a resident of Danville
on Nov 16, 2015 at 2:55 pm

I am opposed to the "public shaming" aspect of this. I do understand that local newspapers and media have demanded the list. But at the same time, some other water districts have taken the position that they are not obligated to release customer information in this way.

One thing I noticed in the most recent release of names (I think the third release) is that a local TV newscaster's name appeared in the "worst" water users list. I wonder if the station that this person works for (as an on-air anchor) will be as quick to report on this list, now that one of their own people is on it! Maybe said anchor-person could report on themselves...

(I am intentionally not mentioning either the name, nor the TV station, in keeping with my position that names shouldn't be released. People can look it up if so desired. But I am "appreciating" the irony....)

Posted by Dave
a resident of Danville
on Nov 17, 2015 at 11:52 am

CRM -- funny...even though you would oppose the release of names, you were still curious enough to go look at the list.

Posted by No shaming
a resident of Danville
on Nov 17, 2015 at 1:17 pm

EBMUD made use over 1000 gallons per day a VIOLATION of the EBMUD regulations subject to a penalty. No other local water districts made high usage a violation of their regulations. Because of the violation aspect, the list of violators became subject to the CA Public Records Act, requiring disclosure to anyone that asks.

Rather than make excessive use a violation, EBMUD should simply raise the rates on excessive use much higher. The so-called penalties are too small to have any impact on the people that are high users.

Posted by PSMacintosh
a resident of Danville
on Nov 17, 2015 at 1:22 pm

WHERE is the LINK to the actual EBMUD list of excessive water users?

Would someone please submit it.

Posted by Todd Yanker-Getty
a resident of Diablo Vista Middle School
on Nov 23, 2015 at 12:13 am

On every check I send EBMUD I suggest either desalinization, cloud-seeding, or dam construction - in other words, resource enhancement. Taking a firm stand on no new water hookups, if there really is a drought "crisis," would be another tactic they could take to fulfill their basic function of providing water to their clients. Instead, of course, they prefer to focus on shaming we "wasteful" water users in the section of their service district that happens to have larger lots and much warmer temperatures thus joining their sister politically correct agencies ABAG and MTC in the war against our suburban lifestyle.

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