Drought Town Hall- Questions and Answers

Drought Town Hall - June 2, 2022

Experts reported on current drought conditions, water conservation measures, and guidelines for well water users. 

Video en español

Host

 Sonoma Water Director David Rabbitt

Panelists

Sonoma Water: 

Don Seymour, Principal Water Agency Engineer View Presentation

A Water supply update presentation

Santa Rosa Water:

Jennifer Burke, Director View Presentation

Santa Rosa Water is responding to a third dry year including water conservation efforts

California State Water Resources Control Board:

Chris Watt, Groundwater Specialist View Presentation 

Update on State Water Resources Control Board groundwater and well drought impacts within the Russian River watershed 


Drought Town Hall - March 10, 2022

The town hall will focus on continued drought conditions in the Russian River watershed. Speakers will include representatives from Sonoma Water, the State Water Resources Control Board, National Marine Fisheries Service, Santa Rosa Water, Sonoma County Farm Bureau and the California Department of Water Resources. Speakers will be discussing ongoing drought conditions, water supply management efforts, and conservation measures.

View Recording 

Video en español

Host

 Sonoma Water Director David Rabbitt

Panelists

California Department of Water Resources:

Jeanine Jones, Interstate Resources Manager View Presentation

Jeanine will provide an overview of current and projected drought forecasts for both Sonoma County and the state. She will also provide a brief overview of drought funding/programs available.

Sonoma Water: 

Grant Davis, General Manager View Presentation

Jay Jasperse, Chief Engineer/Director of Groundwater Management View Presentation

Officials with Sonoma Water will give an overview of Sonoma Water current and future drought activities, including water supply management, groundwater management, Russian River conditions, and drought projects (including grant funding received to date). 

California State Water Resources Control Board:

Samuel Boland-Brien, Supervising Engineer View Presentation

Sam will provide an update on State Water Resources Control Board activities within the Russian River watershed, such as Russian River flow temporary urgency change petitions, water use restrictions

National Marine Fisheries Service:

Dan Wilson, Division Manager, Operations and Policy Branch Chief, California Coastal Office, NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region View Presentation

Dan will provide a Russian River watershed fisheries update along with information about the Voluntary Drought Initiative.

Santa Rosa Water:

Jennifer Burke, Director View Presentation

Jennifer will discuss how Santa Rosa Water is responding to a third dry year including water conservation efforts

Sonoma County Farm Bureau:

Tawny Tesconi, Executive Director View Presentation

Tawny will address how the agricultural community is responding to the ongoing drought including water management and conservation efforts.

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June 2022 - Drought Town Hall - Questions and Answers

The Urban Water Management Plans prepared by local water providers include growth projections, planned water projects and water conservation efforts. These plans address how water will be provided to meet planned growth. Sonoma Water's plan can be found here: https://www.sonomawater.org/uwmp

Due to state and local regulations, new developments are required to be extremely water efficient and must comply with the Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance and the CAL Green building code. In fact, new development must be 20 % more water efficient than existing development. New development often exceeds this target. The City of Santa Rosa's Water Shortage Contingency Plan details how the city will respond to a reduction in water supply. During water shortage stages 5 through 8 (30 % shortage or greater) new construction must offset its water demand to achieve a net zero impact.


Graywater is wastewater from showers, bathtubs, bathroom sinks, and clothes washing machines that can be used in your landscape. Graywater does not include water from toilets, kitchen sinks, or dishwashers. Graywater can be routed to your landscape to help meet your irrigation needs. Please note, a laundry to landscape system does not require a permit, however altering plumbing or adding a pump will require a permit. 

For more information visit SavingWaterPartnership.org

Agricultural users rely on groundwater wells and surface water (if available and if they have surface water rights). Generally, ag users don't receive water through the regional water supply system. The resource conservation districts and UC Cooperative Extension have been providing workshops and demonstrations and advice to ag water users on conserving water and rainwater capture. https://sonomarcd.org/programs/water-resources/

http://www.goldridgercd.org/htm/water-resources.htm


The City of Santa Rosa's Water Shortage Contingency Plan details how the city will respond to a reduction in water supply. During water shortage stages 5 through 8 (30 % shortage or greater) new construction must offset its water demand to achieve a net zero impact.

The City prepares an updated long-range (25-year) water supply plan every five years. The City’s most current plan is the 2020 Urban Water Management Plan (UWMP). The 2020 UWMP details the City's water needs and water supplies out to 2045 for normal and dry year scenarios. The analysis includes population growth projections and new development, additional housing, increased density, and climate change assumptions. The Urban Water Management Plan is available online here: https://srcity.org/uwmp. During average and even below average rainfall years, the City has more than adequate water supply to meet the growing needs of our urban community. Careful planning, policy, and programmatic efforts have been essential to Santa Rosa’s long range water supply management over the past three decades. Since the 1990s, the City has been an early adopter of standards and building codes to ensure new development is more water efficient.


September 2021 - Drought Town Hall - Questions and Answers

Three Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSA) formed in Sonoma County as regulatory bodies that can manage groundwater using a variety of tools, including setting fees, requiring water use reporting, regulating how much groundwater is pumped, and monitoring wells.

In 2009, the State Water Resources Control Board established the Recycled Water Policy, requiring local water and wastewater entities to collaborate with stakeholders to develop a Salt and Nutrient Management Plan (SNMP) for each groundwater basin in California. The purpose of the SNMPs is to promote local sustainable water sources and manage salts and nutrients to ensure water quality objectives are met and beneficial uses of groundwater are protected.

For more information visit:  https://www.sonomawater.org/groundwater

No, but a combination of projects will build resiliency, please visit Drought Resiliency to learn more about the Santa Rosa Plain Drought Resiliency Project

The Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) project would store treated, high quality surface water in underground reservoirs, known as aquifers, during wet periods when Russian River water is plentiful.

The Sonoma Marin Saving Water Partnership has a variety of programs offered Region-wide, see what water use efficiency rebates and programs are available in your area by visiting SavingWaterPartnership.org 

Conserving Water Is Easy, view Water Saving Tips 

Typically, this is done with meters obtained through local water provider.

Sonoma Water provides drinking water to the following cities and special districts: 

City of Santa Rosa
www.srcity.org

Town of Windsor
www.townofwindsor.com

Marin Municipal Water District
www.marinwater.org

City of Cotati
www.ci.cotati.ca.us

City of Sonoma
www.sonomacity.org

City of Rohnert Park
www.rpcity.org

Valley of the Moon Water District
www.vomwd.com

City of Petaluma
www.cityofpetaluma.net

North Marin Water District
www.nmwd.com

Desalination could be helpful, however, this process uses an incredible amount of energy and the brine produced is difficult and expensive to dispose of properly. 

Please visit Drought Resiliency to learn more about the Santa Rosa Plain Drought Resiliency Project

The Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) project would store treated, high quality surface water in underground reservoirs, known as aquifers, during wet periods when Russian River water is plentiful.

Fire suppression is part of the planning process.

The Water Supply Strategies Action Plan (Action Plan) is a key planning document for Sonoma County Water Agency (Sonoma Water). The Action Plan is an update of a 2013 plan developed in cooperation with Sonoma Water Contractors that addresses immediate and long-term challenges in providing a reliable regional water supply, including aging infrastructure vulnerable to natural hazards, and water supply uncertainties due to regulatory issues, drought, and climate change. The Action Plan focuses on water supply projects and programs.

The Water Advisory Committee (WAC) represents the major cities and water districts that receive water delivered by Sonoma Water aqueduct system. Water Shortage Contingency Plan. The committee helps make decisions regarding water supply issues in Sonoma Water's service area. The committee works within the bounds of the Restructured Agreement for Water Supply. Members of the public can participate in the meeting by visiting Water Advisory Committee's website​​​​​​​

Sonoma Water’s 2020 Urban Water Management Plan discusses and describes the following:

  • Existing water supplies and transmission system facilities;
  • Projected water demands in Sonoma Water’s service area over the next 25 years;
  • Projected water supplies available to Sonoma Water over the next 25 years, the reliability of that supply, and general schedules for water supply projects;
  • Climate change impacts to water supply;
  • Energy intensity;
  • Current and planned Sonoma Water water conservation activities;
  • An updated and separately adopted Water Shortage Contingency Plan (Appendix C); and 
  • A comparison of water supply and water demand over the next 25 years under different hydrological assumptions (normal year, single dry year, multiple dry years).

Sonoma Water provides drinking water to the following cities and special districts: 

City of Santa Rosa
www.srcity.org

Town of Windsor
www.townofwindsor.com

Marin Municipal Water District
www.marinwater.org

City of Cotati
www.ci.cotati.ca.us

City of Sonoma
www.sonomacity.org

City of Rohnert Park
www.rpcity.org

Valley of the Moon Water District
www.vomwd.com

City of Petaluma
www.cityofpetaluma.net

North Marin Water District
www.nmwd.com

The dam at Lake Mendocino wasn’t built as tall as the amount of land acquired back in the early 1950’s, it would be quite expensive to raise the dam.

Removing silt is also challenging. If you piled all the sediment at the bottom of Lake Mendocino on to one football field it would be almost a mile and half high.  Or, over a million truck loads.  So if you could move 100 trucks per day it would take nearly three years to remove all the sediment.  That’s  assuming Lake Mendocino would be empty for three years.