Water worries prompt Monday meeting

With recent rains, it’s easy to forget California is still facing a drought. Yet in Sonoma County, this has been one of the driest years on record, with diminished reservoir levels driving voluntary water conservation, with the possibility of mandatory cutbacks looming.

“Rain gives people the false sense of security that we don’t have a drought because it is raining,” said 1st District Supervisor Susan Gorin. But, she added, the forecast for the next few months leads officials to expect that the drought is severe and is going to be “very challenging” come this summer.

In Sonoma Valley, the declining groundwater supply is intensifying water scarcity and creating even more official concern about future solutions for the area’s water supply.

Gorin, the Sonoma County Water Agency and the Sonoma Valley Basin Advisory Panel, will host a public meeting Monday, March 31, to discuss water supply levels in the Valley.

There are two large depressions of groundwater in Sonoma Valley, according to the water agency, with deep wells where more water is being pumped out than is recharged. The areas most affected by these depressions are in El Verano and southeast of the city limits, and are used for rural, residential and agricultural wells. Groundwater management studies from the last five years indicate these depressions have worsened, with diminishing aquifer yield and saline intrusion, especially in the southern part of the Valley.

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