The Contra Costa Water District board of directors approved a drought management plan Wednesday night that calls for customers to reduce their water usage by 15 percent beginning May 1, a district spokeswoman said today.
While the rationing is not intended to increase water rates, customers who use more than 1,000 gallons per day and who fail to make the 15 percent reduction will be charged an excess use charge of four times the normal rate.
Customers who use less than 1,000 gallons per day and who continue to use the same amount of water will not be charged an excess use rate, according to Senior Public Information Specialist Jennifer Allen.
Anyone who increases water use will have to pay an excess use charge of four times the average rate, according to Allen.
People who have had a change in their household and need a higher allocation can apply for an adjustment, Allen said.
The district made special provisions in the new ordinance for industrial customers, who are only being asked to reduce water use by 5 percent, and un-metered irrigation and agricultural customers, who are being asked to reduce their water use by 45 percent.
The water rationing plan also prohibits certain water uses, including washing sidewalks and driveways, washing cars with hoses that don't have a shut-off nozzle and operating decorative fountains that don't re-circulate water. Over-watering lawns and filling decorative ponds are also banned, according to the district.
The decision to impose mandatory water rationing came after the federal Bureau of Reclamation, which manages the district's water, reduced the district's allocation by 55 percent, Allen said.