The PG&E power shutoffs and the Kincade Fire in late October affected half the people in our county. With nearly 200,000 evacuated, Rohnert Park lived up to our Friendly City name by hosting thousands of evacuees. Whether in our homes, hotels, offices, and yes even parking lots, people sought and found refuge from the inferno. Our county leaders deserve some measure of credit for learning from the 2017 fire storm. They made numerous changes and the county’s response to this disaster was much better than two years ago. Early evacuations, extensive alerts, better communication, and improved preparedness all contributed to not a single life lost.
Unfortunately, PG&E shut down power to some of our residents for five days. This was a heavy blow to R-Section, L-Section, and parts of M-Section. All of Cotati was shut down as well. With those recent shutoffs some have asked about our water and sewer systems.
The City of Rohnert Park delivers treated water to its customers produced primarily by the Sonoma Water (formerly Sonoma County Water Agency). Sonoma Water originates from six collectors and seven wells along the Russian River and three production wells east of Sebastopol. We supplement that water with water from a series of 29 city owned groundwater wells located throughout the community. Combined, our water system provides roughly 1.7 billion gallons of clean drinking water to the community every year (nearly 4.7 million gallons per day). Additionally, Rohnert Park has seven water storage tanks with a total capacity of approximately five million gallons of treated water. We are building our eighth water tank east of Petaluma Hill Rd. now. These tanks are used to balance water system pressure during peak demand periods and provide emergency water storage for increased fire protection.
In the event of a power outage or a PG&E Public Safety Power Shutdown, the city’s water and sewer systems are supported by back-up generators at key facilities. In preparing for power shut downs we just purchased two very large mobile generators. We can move these to where they are most needed in an emergency. During a power outage Rohnert Park is prepared to maintain its normal water supplies to our residents. So far the system has performed well and we have ensured the water in your home is readily available and safe to drink. In fact, we even supplied water to our neighbors in Canon Manor during a recent power shutdown as their system experienced a water outage. Neighbors helping neighbors in an emergency.
Our water system is continuously monitored. The water is analyzed daily by certified staff and weekly by a state-certified laboratory. The water is checked to ensure it meets drinking water standards set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and California Department of Public Health. If you’d like to know more about the city’s water quality, the annual consumer confidence report is posted on the city’s website for your review.
While the back-up generators are expected to minimize impacts to residents caused by planned power shutoffs, there may be situations when delivery capabilities are reduced. In the event of declining water pressures, customers may be asked to minimize indoor water use and stop outdoor water irrigation. This request would help maintain water supply for public health, sanitation and fire protection needs. Conserving water during a power outage reduces the demand on the backup power generators that help move water through the system. Please stay connected on Nixle and social media for important updates.
For additional questions, please feel free to contact Mark Henderson, Utilities Operations Manager 707-588-3316.
On November 5 voters approved the measure to renew the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) by 90 percent. The UGB is to encourage efficient growth, protects hills, farms and fields to the east and west of the city. It focuses growth within the boundary and allows housing where services and infrastructure can be provided cost effectively, with fewer environmental impacts.
The voter-approved boundary will remain in place until it is renewed or expires in 2040. Thank you to all those that voted on this important issue – your votes count.