DUBLIN -- Seeing little improvement from voluntary conservation measures, Dublin and parts of San Ramon have joined the list of East Bay communities whose residents will pay more for water if they don't cut back.

Enacting a series of emergency drought actions, the Dublin San Ramon Services District board on Monday voted unanimously to raise water rates and issue mandatory restrictions on usage -- moves designed to reduce overall consumption by 35 percent.

The measures come in response to a dramatic cut in allocation from the State Water Project, which provides 80 percent of the Tri-Valley's water through the Zone 7 Water Agency.

Low water levels at the Stevens Creek Reservoir in Cupertino on Jan. 22, 2014. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
Low water levels at the Stevens Creek Reservoir in Cupertino on Jan. 22, 2014. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

"We're trying to reduce the demand for water so we can live with the limited supply we have," said district Operations Manager Dan Gallagher. "We've got to cut or we'll run out of water some night."

The three-tiered hike, Gallagher said, hits higher-volume residential customers harder, nearly tripling costs for those who use 32 units (or 23,936 gallons) or more per month and don't conserve.

Average residents who use 24 units (17,952 gallons) without cutting back will pay about 14 percent above normal rates starting on June 1, with bimonthly bills jumping from $110 to $125. Users who reach the 35 percent reduction goal will actually see a decrease in their bills, Gallagher said.

The Stage 3 conservation rates will remain in effect until the end of the drought emergency. The district, which serves about 67,000 people in Dublin and the Dougherty Valley area of San Ramon, will issue rebates later this year to customers who consistently use 10 units (7,480 gallons) or less per month.

"We're going to try to reward those people who have had historic low usage," Gallagher said. "We don't want them to see an impact at all."

To reach a goal of cutting outdoor water use in half, the board also voted to restrict irrigation to one day a week in May, increasing to two days a week through the summer months. According to the district, once-a-week irrigation will save the average person about 60 percent on water use.

Other limitations include restricting yard watering to between 6 p.m. and 9 a.m. and requiring hoses equipped with shut-off nozzles. Drip irrigation or watering with a bucket or can is allowed at any time. Residents must cover pools when not in use and are prohibited from washing vehicles anywhere besides commercial car washes.

First-time violators will be issued verbal or written warnings, with fines starting at $250 for a second offense and increasing up to $1,000 with subsequent violations. A fifth violation could result in installation of a flow restrictor or loss of water service.

"We can see what customers are doing on a real-time basis," Gallagher said. "We will be watching."

Pleasanton will be the next Tri-Valley community to consider emergency conservation measures. The Pleasanton City Council will be addressing the issue at their meeting Tuesday, May 6, beginning at 7 p.m.

Contact Jeremy Thomas at 925-847-2184. Follow him at Twitter.com/jet_bang.

Watch your water
For tips on conserving water and to read a full list of restrictions implemented by the Dublin San Ramon Services District, visit www.dsrsd.com.