With buzz across the state that some areas may run out of water, Sonoma County Water Agency officials say water will continue to flow out of Sonoma Valley taps.
A recent report by California public health officials identified 17 towns and water districts at risk of running out of water in the next 100 days if nothing is done to enhance their supplies. The threatened areas are mostly in rural areas, relying on various water sources from wells to rivers, with a dry 2013 leaving their supplies lower than ever.
Sonoma Valley, according to water agency spokesman Brad Sherwood, is protected from running out of water because of the reservoir at Lake Sonoma. Currently, the reservoir is holding around 167,000 acre-feet of water, enough to sustain the Valley for several years. “Right now, Lake Sonoma is doing its job. We would be at that point (of running out of water) if it weren’t for Lake Sonoma.”
However, he said, the agency will implement mandatory conservation and request state aid if water levels dip below predetermined standards.
“We will not let our customers run out of water,” Sherwood said. “The question becomes what kind of mandatory conservation measures will be ordered in mid-spring if these dry conditions persist?”
On Monday, Sherwood said, the SCWA General Manager Grant Davis will ask water managers to implement a 20-percent voluntary water reduction.
Sonoma City Engineer and Director of Public Works Dan Takasugi said the city will discuss an immediate, voluntary, 15-percent water reduction at its meeting Monday, Feb. 3. The conservation effort will be reevaluated, he said, in March, and if the Valley does not get the rain it needs, mandatory conservation will go into effect.
The situation is much more dire in Sonoma County’s northernmost cities, Cloverdale and Healdsburg.
The two towns, which rely on groundwater from the Russian River and the SCWA-managed reservoir, Lake Mendocino, are at risk of running out of water. At the turn of the year, the water agency noted Lake Mendocino was critically low.
Some Mendocino County water districts and cities that use Lake Mendocino water are also listed in the state’s report. Other areas could be added if the dry weather persists.