By Jen Kinney.
The Bay Area water agency that pioneered “drought shaming” — by publicly naming people who were hitting the tap hard — will cease fining excessive water users, reports SF Gate. As a wet winter and increased conservation have eased the water shortage for much of the state of California the East Bay Municipal Utility District has decided financial penalties for its customers who exceed conservation quotas are no longer necessary. The agency serves Oakland and Berkeley, among other cities.
“Why would we continue penalizing customers when we have enough water?” Sherri Hong, district manager of customer and community services, told SF Gate. “We feel that conservation is going to continue regardless. We think that our customers have acquired great habits.”
The agency is asking customers to continue to maintain last year’s 20 percent reduction in water usage, but it will do away with the fines for water hogs. Fines had been levied against residents who averaged more than 1,000 gallons of water per day, with violations upward of $1,000, based on use. Since July, the agency collected a cumulative $596,878 in fines from over 5,000 violators.