As most of you are probably aware, the recent lack of winter rainfall has returned us to a state of drought preparation and response. The last two winters have been exceptionally dry. Water supply projections show that without additional rainfall and without aggressive water saving by our communities, Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino water levels will reach historic lows by October 2021.
The State Water Resources Control Board, the state’s authority on water resources, has urged regional water-right holders to reduce and conserve water. Last month our region launched a campaign asking residents to voluntarily reduce water consumption. The city is now taking proactive approaches to enforce water waste violations. Although we will continue to do outreach to educate the community, violations for water waste are a priority.
The city recently initiated the first stage of its Water Shortage Contingency Plan which calls for customers to reduce water use by 20 percent. The full list of prohibited water wasting activities can be found at www.rpcity.org/conservation. A few of the more common prohibited activities include the following:
• Washing of sidewalks, walkways, driveways or other hard surface areas with a hose.
• Overwatering or sprinkler-over spraying of landscapes that results in runoff to streets and storm drains.
• Using a hose without a self-closing shutoff nozzle to wash cars, boats, or trailers.
• Irrigating outdoors during and within 48 hours of rain.
• Irrigating outside the hours of 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
• Using potable water in decorative water features that do not recirculate the water.
Residents can report incidents of water wasting activities by visiting the city’s website at www.rpcity.org/247, downloading the GOGov app (Reach Rohnert Park) on your smartphone, emailing us at email@example.com, or calling the Water Waste Hotline at 588-3343.
In the long run, even accounting for dry years, Rohnert Park’s water supply can meet the needs of our current residents and the growth we’re seeing with new housing. All new construction is regulated to ensure efficient water usage to preserve our valuable resource. New construction must comply with the Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance and the California Building Standards Commission and the Department of Housing and Community Development requirements for irrigation systems.
The city is committed to water conservation. We use recycled water to irrigate our parks, street medians, landscapes at local schools, several businesses, Roberts Lake, Foxtail Golf Course and Sonoma State University.
City staff are here to help our residents and businesses conserve water and reduce the discharge of wastewater through a variety of programs, services, tools, tips and rebates. If you save water (20 percent decrease from last year), you’re encouraged to enter our ‘Water Wise’ raffle. You could win a high efficiency toilet, front loading washing machine, or a smart irrigation system. For more information on how you can enter the raffle and save water, visit www.rpcity.org/conservation.
Water customers throughout Rohnert Park and the North Bay are invited to pick up a free water saving kit during a three-county “Drought Drop By” event on June 12 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Rohnert Park Community Center located at 5401 Snyder Ln. and the Cotati City Hall at 201 W Sierra Ave. Free drought toolkits include a WaterSense low-flow showerhead, 5-minute shower timer, WaterSense low-flow faucet aerator, toilet dye test tablets, self-closing garden hose nozzle, and a bucket to catch water for reuse. Toolkits will be distributed to participants who drop by on a first come, first served basis. While supplies last. Limit one kit per household.