February 2014, Newsletter: The Drought and Wastewater Use

DROUGHT! This word is foremost in Californian’s minds these days, and no less in Sonoma County. Recent Press Democrat headlines shout, “Water officials say turn off that tap”, with the added mantra of: “The drought is on; Turn the water off!” This energetic winter water conservation campaign by Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA) and their nine major contractors is a first.

If no significant rain occurs between now and July, Lake Mendocino, serving Mendocino and northern Sonoma County, may be completely drained (based on average use over last several months). Rainfall in 2013 was only one fourth of the average amount. Water Agency claims it’s the driest of all 119 years of record keeping.

Last year SCWA had petitioned State Water Board and, concerned about having enough water for salmonid fish, was granted the right to implement reduced summer flows in response to the lack of spring rain.