Drought Is Still Here. Save Water.

The Russian River watershed is in a third consecutive year of drought. As a result, water supply levels at Lake Mendocino and Lake Sonoma remain at historic lows. Sonoma Water and its partners in the Sonoma Marin Saving Water Partnership (SMSWP) urge our community to keep up the great conservation work and effort – water saved now, is water we can use later. 

We all need to make changes to our everyday habits to eliminate water waste to preserve water supply. Every drop saved helps maintain water flows in the Russian River and extend reservoir storage levels should the current dry period continue.

General Updates

  1. On October 31, Sonoma Water filed Temporary Urgency Change Petitions with the State Water Resources Control Board. The TUCP was submitted to address significant reductions in flows into the East Fork Russian River through Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E) Potter Valley Project (PVP) due to a transformer bank failure, as well as continuing drought conditions in the Russian River Watershed. Additionally, the TUCPs request that the hydrologic index be based on Lake Mendocino storage values, rather than the current index based on cumulative inflow into Lake Pillsbury, starting December 14, 2022.
  2. Reservoir capacities are lower than they were in 2021 and during the last drought, which was in 2013/2014. View more data on this drought.
  3. Residents are encouraged to continue using water wisely and eliminate water-wasting activities. Learn more water-saving tips at savingwaterpartnership.org.
  4. View the past Drought Town Hall series recordings and FAQ on the drought emergency.
  5. View more information about the current water supply levels.

Drought Is Still Here. Save Water.

The Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership has launched a public outreach campaign to encourage water conservation in the North Bay. To support this message, we’ve adopted a regional tag line: "Drought Is Still Here. Save Water." Water is a resource that our community shares, and it is critical that we all protect and conserve this valuable resource.

These are a few of the water-wasting activities that are prohibited year-round in cities in Sonoma and Marin county:

  • Washing sidewalks, walkways, driveways or other hard surfaced areas with a hose. Use a broom instead.
  • Irrigation runoff to streets and storm drains from overwatering or sprinkler-overspray of landscapes.
  • Using a hose without a self-closing shutoff nozzle to wash cars, boats, or trailers.
  • Irrigating outdoors during and within 48 hours following measurable rainfall.
  • Using potable water in decorative water features that do not recirculate the water.

For additional water saving tips and resources, please visit the Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership website.

Lake Sonoma aerial photos, April 20, 2021

What is Sonoma Water doing in response to the drought?

Explore various efforts and initiatives in the timeline below by clicking through the photos and text. 

View drought Frequently Asked Questions.

view Sanitation Water Efficiency Rebate Program

2022 Drought Town Hall meetings 

Sonoma Water and the County of Sonoma coordinated seven Drought Town Hall meetings to update the public on the drought emergency. 

Experts provided the latest information on drought conditions and answered public questions. Participants received information on the prospects for a fourth year of drought and learned about programs to help private well owners.

View the drought town hall recorded video presentations and materials 

View past Drought Town Hall Questions and Answers.

Cumulative River Diversions Weekly Report

To monitor our progress on achieving the 20% river diversion reduction requirement under the June 2022 TUCO (term 12), we’ll be issuing a weekly diversion report. This plot of cumulative diversions continues the same weekly reporting implemented last summer. Below is the current week’s plot of cumulative river diversions starting July 1st, shown in comparison to baseline 2020 diversions over the same time period.

View Report

Local Water Supply Articles

North Bay agencies seek $83 million to expand water recycling amid drought - Press Democrat - May 18, 2022 

Sonoma County Water Agency Receives 2022 Excellence in Innovation Award - ACWA - May 05, 2022  

Fees, budget give Sonoma Valley groundwater board headaches - Kenwood Press - May 15, 2022

Marin water districts study options for new supply - Marin Independent Journal - May 1, 2022

Looking for past articles? Visit our Drought Articles Archive page.