The Press Democrat has written many articles informing people about the drought and need for conservation. The Sonoma County Water Agency has spent a huge amount of money on publicity about their 20 Gallon Challenge and need for conservation. The Marin-Sonoma Water Saving Partnership is putting out a lot of feel-good suggestions for saving water, but it’s all low-hanging fruit. Thus far, little or nothing has been publicly mentioned about mandatory conservation for Water Agency customers, where much higher rates are billed in tiers for those using high and higher amounts of water.
Unfortunately, government appears to have no leverage over agricultural water users and private property owners along the river in Mendocino and Sonoma Counties. On October 20, 2013 there was 37,514 acre feet of water in Lake Mendocino; on January 19th there was 25,384. That’s a difference of 12,130 acre feet in three months. At that rate, Lake Mendocino will be completely empty by the end of July. And then unregulated water users will really learn about conservation.
Sonoma County Water Agency is counting on Lake Sonoma to supply customers with water this year. But if the drought continues that will be unsustainable. Mandatory conservation needs to start NOW!