Stormwater Management - Groundwater Recharge

Sonoma County’s weather is characterized by rainy periods (generally October through March), followed by long, dry months. This Mediterranean climate makes Sonoma County a great place to live, farm and enjoy the outdoors – but can create flooding and water supply challenges. Large, heavy winter storms often inundate creeks and streams, flooding local communities. Periodic droughts can stress groundwater and surface water resources.

In three of its flood zones, Sonoma Water is identifying opportunities to alleviate flooding, while possibly recharging groundwater aquifers or providing other benefits. The “Stormwater Management-Groundwater Recharge” studies are currently assessing the feasibility of projects in Laguna-Mark West watershed, the Sonoma Valley watershd and the Upper Petaluma River watershed.

Learn more about Stormwater

Goals of Studies

The goal of the initial scoping studies (one in each watershed) is to establish the project objectives, identify potential project concepts, and determine, at a preliminary level, the technical and practical feasibility of projects that would reduce flooding while providing additional community benefits. These benefits could include groundwater recharge, water quality improvements, water supply improvements, improved ecosystem functions, preservation of agricultural land use, preservation or enhancement of open spaces, system sustainability or benefits like recreation, public access or education.

To accomplish this goal, consultants in each watershed are collecting and assessing technical data and information about the watersheds, and have met with active stakeholders to discuss project objectives and goals and to solicit ideas on potential projects.

The second phase of the studies is to identify possible project opportunities and evaluate at a more detailed level the feasibility of implementing those projects.

Process & Timeline

  • Phase 1 – Initiated in December 2010. Draft studies were submitted in spring 2011. Stakeholder input was provided in spring-summer 2011.
  • Phase 2 – Based on comments received in Phase 1, consultant teams are drafting studies identifying possible project areas. Meetings were held in fall and winter 2011-2012 to discuss findings with stakeholders and community members.
  • Phase 3 – For those projects where partners and potential partners express interest, Sonoma Water will move forward with engineering and other supporting studies. The goal is to be positioned to take advantage of potential grant and other funding sources.

Upper Petaluma Watershed

Scoping Study Documents

Meeting Information

Sonoma Valley Watershed

Scoping Study Documents

Meeting Information

Laguna/Mark West Creek Watershed

Scoping Study Documents

Meeting Information

Additional Information and meetings

On May 23, 2012, an informational meeting was held for regulatory agencies. Meeting information is below:

Contact Information

If you would like more information about these studies, please contact

Kent Gylfe
Project Manager
(707) 547-1977