In an abbreviated meeting on Tuesday before Thanksgiving, the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) unanimously passed a proposal to change their short-term financing in order to reduce long-term risk. EBMUD will be moving from “extended” back to “traditional” commercial paper, according to Dari Barzel, EBMUD’s principal management analyst. What does that mean? “Commercial paper…

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Map of the East Bay Municipal Utility District

While the East Bay Municipal Utility District is suffering the worst drought since its founding in 1923, its 1.3 million users face no danger of going dry anytime soon. That was the message from EBMUD board members and operations staff at their Tuesday public meeting. Infrastructure investments, conservation, and transfers–buying water from the Sacramento River–together…

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This year is the driest in recorded history in California. This has forced the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) to declare a stage 4 drought, the highest stage ever announced in the area, although even higher stages can apply if the drought gets worse. EBMUD is asking East Bay citizens to cut down their water usage.…

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20 years after the Oakland Hills Fire, city officials and residents reflect on what has changed and what still needs to be done. Photo courtesy of Oakland Fire Department.

On October 19, 1991, the tiny flame that would become the Oakland hills fire was ignited. The ensuring wildfire, which lasted for several days, took 25 lives, consumed over a thousand acres land, and destroyed more than 3,500 homes. On the 20th anniversary of the fire, Oakland North takes a look at some of the changes the city has implemented to try to prepare for the next big wildfire—as well as what still needs to improve.

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What would happen to the water supply if a major earthquake struck the Bay Area? According to the East Bay Municipal District, which supplies water to most of the East Bay, there is a 32 percent chance of a magnitude 7 earthquake occurring along the Hayward Fault in the next 30 years. In a worst-case scenario, the Claremont Tunnel, which runs directly through the Hayward Fault and provides water for 800,000 of EBMUD’s customers, would be out of commission for 6 months.

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If you go to the California Department of Water Resources’ drought Web page, you’ll only find this message: “The DWR Drought Web site has been shutdown due to no longer being in an official drought.” Water supply has always been a tough issue in California and residents have long been warned to conserve. But this year has been one of the biggest years of precipitation since 1970, according to the Department of Water Resources.

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Five days a week, a long chrome truck pulls up to EBMUD’s wastewater treatment plant. It lifts its hydraulic-powered trailer bed and proceeds to dump 40,000 pounds of what looks like thick sewage into a giant underground mixer. Strangely, it smells … good. Not what you’d typically imagine for a sewage plant.

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