Contra Costa undoes drought water limits

Following similar steps recently taken by other agencies, the Contra Costa Water District’s leaders voted Wednesday to reverse most of its water use restrictions and its drought charge.

The district announced today that its Board of Directors voted to roll back restrictions in a drought program introduced last year. The changes go into effect immediately but the elimination of drought charges will be done as of June 4, according to the district.

District officials said the wet winter’s rebound in regional water supplies is adequate to meet the demand of the district’s customers, which include about 500,000 people in the central and eastern parts of Contra Costa County.

The board’s decision was made on the same day that California’s State Water Resources Control Board approved plans to allow urban water providers to determine their own conservation standards.

The East Bay Municipal Utility District earlier this month also suspended its drought measures, such as a surcharge and restrictions.

The Contra Costa Water District had been enforcing a two-day per week limit on outdoor irrigation along with other mandatory water-use reductions.

Most of the prohibitions have been abandoned, though district officials said measures that prevent wasteful water use, including hosing off driveways, creating excess runoff and watering after rainfall, were made permanent by the district’s board.

Lisa Borba, the board’s president, said in a statement:

“We’re no longer calling for the sacrifices we did in recent years, but we are asking people to continue using water wisely. … Our customers exceeded the call for conservation and we are grateful.”