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Drought Emergency: Contra Costa Water District Calls For 15% Conservation, Mulls Surcharge

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY (CBS SF) – As California faces a third summer under drought conditions, the Contra Costa Water District called for customers to conserve 15% compared to 2020 levels.

In a meeting on Wednesday, the district board adopted a new Drought Management Program in the wake of Gov. Gavin Newsom's executive order ordering water suppliers to move to Stage 2 of their Water Shortage Contingency Plans. The program comes as the first few months of 2022 were among the driest on record.

"We know that further reductions can be a challenge, but our customers are conscientious water users who step up for their community," board president Lisa Borba said in a statement.

Water officials said the district's water allocation from the federal Central Valley Project will only provide for minimum public health and safety levels this year. The allocation will be supplemented with local supplies and from Los Vaqueros Reservoir, which is only at 58% of capacity.

Along with urging 15% conservation, the district has called for a temporary drought surcharge of up to 15% that would go into effect on July 1. Water officials said for an average customer, who uses 260 gallons per day, the surcharge would amount to 28 cents per day, or about $8.40 a month.

Officials said the proposed surcharge also includes a rebate for customers who use 200 gallons per day or less. The district plans to consider the surcharge at a board meeting on June 15.

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