Water parley prompts supply questions

Valley residents packed Vintage House’s Stone Hall Monday evening with concerns over the impact of the drought and declining groundwater throughout the area.

The meeting, organized by 1st District Supervisor Susan Gorin and the Sonoma County Water Agency, featured regional water experts and members of local agencies working to assuage dwindling water supply worries. It was the first of several town halls being held throughout the county to address water concerns.

Gorin, who said she had been planning the meeting before the severity of the drought was known, and intended to address the decline of Valley groundwater, noted that the drought has exacerbated the diminishing water supply issue and it is even more important that the community and its representatives work together to find solutions. “Sonoma Valley is facing water supply issues that need to be dealt with right now, proactively,” Gorin said.

Sonoma County Water Agency Chief Engineer Jay Jasperse explained that despite recent rains, California is in one of the worst drought situations in its history, with relatively dry weather starting in 2012. He said the area’s water supply, which comes a “long distance,” principally from the Russian River through pipelines from the Lake Sonoma reservoir, but also from groundwater, is increasingly vulnerable.

The water agency, Jasperse said, is working to increase the water supply by expanding the water portfolio, maximizing conservation and balancing surface water levels and groundwater levels.

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