Water supplies remain a big concern
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By Brad Sherwood  April 4, 2014 12:00 am

Despite recent rains, the cumulative average rainfall for the water year to date (July 1, 2013 – March 9, 2014) is still well below average. 

The Santa Rosa basin currently, as of March 14, has 14.1 inches compared to an average of 25.2 inches. The Ukiah basin has 11.45 inches compared to the average of 30 inches. 

While the drought status in much of the county was updated from “extreme” to “severe,” water storage levels in Lake Mendocino and Lake Sonoma continue to be well below average.  

Lake Mendocino’s water supply storage capacity is at 50 percent and Lake Sonoma’s water supply capacity is currently at 73 percent (as of March 14).

Mendocino County declared a local emergency and imminent threat of disaster because of drought conditions. The Mendocino County Russian River Flood Control and Water Conservation Improvement District has reduced contract allocations for 2014 by 50 percent. To help residents reduce their water use, Mendocino County is publishing a water conservation tip every day for 100 days. Check the website daily for tips to stay healthy and conserve water during the drought www.co.mendocino.ca.us.

All of the Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership members, including the Sonoma County Water Agency, have approved a resolution seeking 20 percent voluntary water reduction per the governor’s drought emergency declaration with Marin Municipal Water District approving a 25 percent voluntary water reduction. 

The Sonoma County Water Agency and the Partnership are working together to make saving water easy for the community by providing as many resources as possible – including holding a “Drought Drive-Up” event and town hall meetings.  Read below for more information.  

“Drought Drive-Up” event:  The Sonoma County Water Agency, in cooperation with the Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership, is implementing a “Drought Drive-Up” event on April 23 at multiple locations across the county to supply residents with water efficient “drought kits” to help conserve water in their daily lives. 

Free water saving tools will be made available to the public.  These tools include free shower timers, toilet die tabs to check for leaks, aerators, showerheads and more!  

Locations will be publicized later this month in various publications, or you can go online to www.wateroff.org to view locations.

Find out more about the drought and Russian River water supplies at www.sonomacountywater.org.

This article was written by Brad Sherwood, a community and governmental affairs manager for the Sonoma County Water Agency, on behalf of RRWA. RRWA (www.rrwatershed.org) is an association of local public agencies in the Russian River Watershed that have come together to coordinate regional programs for clean water, fisheries restoration, and watershed enhancement. 

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