EBMUD fines 700 for wasting water in Contra Costa County

Former Safeway chief executive officer Steven Burd tops Alamo's list of violators

A list of more than 700 customers who have been fined for wasting water in Contra Costa County has been released by the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD).

The list features violators of the district's "Excessive Water Use Ordinance," who in a two-month billing cycle ending in November or December used more than an average of 1,000 gallons of water per day at their homes. The ordinance, which kicked in on July 1 as a response to the state's continued drought, imposes fines on suspected water wasters.

EBMUD has been periodically releasing names of violators of the ordinance, which fines single-family residential customers $2 for each unit -- or 748 gallons -- that is used over an 80-unit threshold.

High on EBMUD's list for this billing cycle was Danville resident Heidi Ridley, an executive at an investment firm. An average use of 6,719 gallons of water per day was reported at her residence.

University of California at Berkeley professor Richard Taruskin, a prominent music historian, was not far behind in terms of water use. Utility officials reported an average daily 5,747-gallon use at his home in El Cerrito, a city that had only two other violators of the excessive use ordinance.

Alamo by far had the most violators, with more than 200 residents on the list.

Topping the list in Alamo was Pleasanton's former Safeway chief executive officer Steven Burd. Utility officials noted that Burd did reduce the water use at his home from 7,255 gallons of water per day in a previously billing cycle to 4,313 gallons this time around.

Another major reduction in water use was Diablo resident Kumarakulasingam Suriyakumar, who topped a EBMUD list in October with a reported 9,612-gallon average use. The Walnut Creek-based document solutions company CEO this time had a reported 5,248-gallon use.

Overall, more than 400 customers reappeared on the most recent list, but there was a collective reduction in water use among repeat violators of 28 percent, EBMUD spokeswoman Abby Figueroa said.

Figueroa added that it's hard to tell how much the reduced water use is a result of the fines and how much is a product of the winter season.

— Bay City News Service

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