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Showers don’t put a dent in water deficiency

THERE WERE FEW cars and fewer pedestrians on Napa Street on a rainy Tuesday night. Bill Hoban/Index-Tribune

THERE WERE FEW cars and fewer pedestrians on Napa Street on a rainy Tuesday night. Bill Hoban/Index-Tribune

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The Bay Area finally got some rain Tuesday and Wednesday, but it wasn’t much – .93 of an inch, with .13 of an inch on Tuesday and another .8 on Wednesday at the Gen. Vallejo Home.

That puts the Valley’s rainfall total since July 1 at 1.36 inches. In an average rain year, the Valley would have almost five-inches of rain by the end of November. That probably won’t happen this year as we’re more than 3.5 inches short.

Steve Anderson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Monterey, said the next chance for rain is the afternoon and evening of Thanksgiving Day. But he couldn’t venture what sort of rain event it may be.

“It’s shaping up like the last one,” he said. “But once you get beyond five days, your accuracy goes down.”

Anderson said the rains Tuesday and Wednesday didn’t make a dent in what the area needs.

Brad Sherwood, public information officer at the Sonoma County Water Agency agreed.

“There was hardly any runoff,” Sherwood said.

He said the ground is so dry, that it just absorbed all the rain.

“We need about eight-inches just to saturate the ground,” he said.

The agency’s reservoirs at Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino are way down. Lake Mendocino is currently at 32,925 acre-feet of water – or about 48 percent of the water supply pool that the water agency controls. Lake Sonoma is in better shape at 178,271 acre-feet of water.

An acre-foot of water is 326,000 gallons or the amount of water covering one acre a foot deep.

Sherwood said that Lake Sonoma has about a 2-1/2-year supply, but Lake Mendocino is another story.

“This is the fourth lowest level on record at Lake Mendocino,” Sherwood said. “We’ve got to ensure that there’s enough flow from Lake Mendocino for the chinook salmon.”

“But,” he added, “we’ve got December and January ahead of us and that’s the wettest time of the year.”

  • Fred Allebach

    I thought this headline was about the futility of low-flow shower heads in the overall water conservation effort.