With a call for cooperation and a warning that things could get worse, the Sonoma City Council officially put the city in water conservation mode Monday night.
“Water conservation is an issue 365 days a year, every year,” said Mayor Tom Rouse before the council voted unanimously in favor of a “Stage 1 water shortage alert,” meaning a voluntary 15 percent reduction in water use by Sonoma residents.
Under the terms of the Stage 1 alert, water users are asked to limit sprinklers and irrigation to non-daytime hours, to inspect irrigation systems and repair leaks, to turn off water completely during rainy periods, to take advantage of incentive programs for replacing home appliances with water-efficient models, and other measures.
Public Works Director and City Engineer Dan Takasugi made opening remarks prior to the vote, during which he updated council members and the public on the current drought forcing Sonomans – and all Californians – to cut back on water.
Currently, he said, Lake Mendocino is a little over one-third of its total capacity, while Lake Sonoma, which supplies Sonoma with its drinking water, is just under two-thirds capacity. “Sunday’s rain, as welcome as it was, really didn’t change those levels,” he said.