Sonoma Water E-News | August 2018
FireSmart Lake Sonoma Community Workshops & Neighbors Summit
In partnership, Ag Innovations and Sonoma County Water Agency (Sonoma Water) are organizing a two-part workshop series called "FireSmart Lake Sonoma" about living with fire in the Lake Sonoma Watershed. If a catastrophic fire were to occur in the Lake Sonoma Watershed, it could lead to contamination of the region's drinking water supply, affecting over 600,000 residents. We are committed to working together on solutions to better protect your home and our primary regional water source. Lake Sonoma Watershed has three distinct communities, connected by major roadways and divided by the lake. With that in mind, this summer, we will host a two-part workshop on reducing fire risk and increasing fire resiliency in the Lake Sonoma Watershed.
Caerleon Safford of Fire Safe Sonoma explains the six tenets of home fire resilience at the August 17 workshop.
Community Workshop
Landowners and managers are invited to attend a community workshop with local fire departments, CalFire, Fire Safe Sonoma and Resource Conservation Districts. From 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., attendees will discuss challenges and opportunities related to fire risk in the community. After lunch, we will caravan to a neighbor’s house for a site walk led by experts from Fire Safe Sonoma. For more information and to RSVP for lunch, contact Suzannah: (707) 823-6111 x114 or

South/West Lake Sonoma
Tuesday, August 28th
Lake Sonoma Visitors Center
3288 Skaggs Springs Rd, Geyserville

Thursday, September 6th
Yorkville Community Center
25400 CA-128, Yorkville

Neighbors Summit
From 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 18 at Oriental Hall (1000 Highway 128, Geyserville), we will bring together the entire Lake Sonoma community alongside experts from Cal Fire, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Ag + Open Space District for a Neighbors Summit. Working across the watershed, we will begin to design solutions as a community. Our goal is for all participants to leave with a better understanding of the unique stewardship role they play in keeping our community safe.
Flood Protection and Groundwater Recharge Plan Now Available for Public Comment
Members of the public are invited to submit comments on a storm water resources plan for the Petaluma River and Sonoma Creek watersheds that has identified more than 60 projects that will utilize storm water from heavy rainfall for beneficial uses, such as flood protection, recharge of groundwater, slowing erosion from hillsides, and improving water quality in creeks and streams.

The Southern Sonoma County Storm Water Resources Plan (SWRP) is funded through a grant received by the Sonoma County Water Agency (Sonoma Water) and is being developed collaboratively under the guidance of a Technical Advisory Committee made up of 13 agencies and non-profit organizations in both watersheds. Project ideas were submitted last year by the public or organizations and were reviewed by the Technical Advisory Committee and then prioritized within the SWRP. Projects included in the plan do not receive any funding, but are qualified to apply for state funding to implement the projects.
“We appreciate the hard work that the community and the local stakeholders have put into developing this plan,” said Sonoma Water Director Susan Gorin, who represents the Sonoma Valley as the First District Supervisor. “This is a wonderful opportunity for our communities to develop new ways of using runoff to protect our watersheds. Now the challenge is to get some of these projects funded.”

Storm water is water generated by rainstorms that runs off surfaces such as rooftops, streets and parking lots into creeks and streams. Storm water projects captures this water by slowing it, storing it or allow it to recharge groundwater. To be eligible in the plan, projects must provide multiple benefits, which could include flood control, groundwater recharge, water reuse, and improved water quality in waterways.

Sonoma Water Director David Rabbitt, who represents the Petaluma River Watershed area as the Second District Supervisor. “There is a lot of interest in our community to develop projects that help with flooding, groundwater recharge, and water quality,” he said. “Public participation is critical to this process. The more input we receive the stronger this plan will be and the better qualified the projects will be for funding.”
Public comments on the SWRP can be submitted to Susan Haydon, Project Specialist, , or by using an online form:
Water Education Program Ready to Kick-off 2018-2019 School Year!
The Water Education Program utilizes a multifaceted approach to help students learn the value of water as an important natural resource. Our programs are free and aligned to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). We teach inquiry based, exploratory science. We provide classroom visits, field trips and curriculum materials for students from transitional kindergarten to high school, and tours and workshops for college students, teachers, and adults. Students and adults visit the Westside Water Education Facility, which is next to the Russian River, the Mirabel Fish Ladder and Viewing Gallery, which allows students to see live salmon during their fall migration, and collector well six, one of the largest collector wells in the world. After a successful first year, we are collaborating again with Sonoma Clean Power to provide energy and climate change education for students in our water service area and beyond. Our goal is for students to become environmental stewards and informed citizen who assess the world through an inquisitive, scientific lens. 
Our programs teach students about:
·          The Russian River watershed, our water supply system, and endangered salmon
·          Wastewater treatment and the beneficial uses of recycled water
·          Climate change and renewable energy
·          Water and energy use efficiency
·          How local creeks provide wildlife habitat, flood control, and recreational opportunities and how to prevent storm drain pollution
·          Careers in the water industry and an opportunity to shadow dozens of Sonoma Water professionals
Will Sonoma County Need to Manage Three New Groundwater Basins?
In 2015, a new state law required California communities to sustainably manage groundwater. The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) focused first on those groundwater basins that are critically overdrafted (including many in the Central Valley and some coastal communities), and those that are ranked high- and medium-priority by the California Department of Water Resources.

Sonoma County has 14 groundwater basins, and the Petaluma Valley, Santa Rosa Plain and Sonoma Valley are all ranked medium priority. Go to, and to learn how these basins are complying with SGMA and working on groundwater sustainability plans (GSPs).
In May, DWR issued a draft reprioritization of California’s groundwater basins. The report reprioritized three additional Sonoma County basins to medium priority: Wilson Grove Highlands Formation (west Sonoma County, including Sebastopol), Alexander Valley and Healdsburg Area (Dry Creek Valley, plus a section of the Russian River Valley).
If the draft document is finalized in its current form, the community would be required to manage these three basins, at the cost of about $2.7 million per basin.
While it’s critical that groundwater basins be managed if they are overdrafted, have water quality problems or the groundwater is being depleted, Sonoma Water has concerns regarding the data used to reprioritize these basins. Chairman of the Board James Gore submitted a comment letter regarding his concerns, and Jay Jasperse, chief engineer and director of groundwater planning, submitted a detailed technical comment. These comments and others can be viewed at

Questions? Contact GSA administrator Ann DuBay,, 524-8378.
Rainfall and Water Storage Update
Current water supply conditions (8/24/18)

Lake Mendocino
Target Storage Curve: 73,600 acre-feet
Current Storage: 67,245 acre-feet (91.4% of Target)

Lake Sonoma
Target Storage Curve: 245,000 acre-feet
Current Storage: 205,343 acre-feet (83.8% of Water Supply Pool)

Current rainfall conditions (10/1/17 - 8/19/18)

Average (1894-2017 water years): 36.61”
Current Water Year: 23.49” which is 64.16% of average

Santa Rosa:
Average (1950-2017 water years): 30.27"
Current Water Year: 25.12” which is 82.99% of average
Upcoming Events

  • August 28, 2018, 8:30 am
  • August 28, 2018, 6:00 pm - Fire Recovery Community Planning Meeting
  • September 4, 2018 cancelled
  • September 5, 2018, 6:00 pm - Fire Recovery Community Planning Meeting
  • September 11, 2018, 8:30 am

NBWA Board Meetings
  • September 7, 2018, 9:30 am
Fact of the Month

Sonoma Water has an Adopt a Creek program designed to educate middle and high school students on the importance of our local creeks and watershed. A stream enhancement project is even developed and implemented by the students through citizen science monitoring.
Employment Opportunities

We invite you to explore the career opportunities available with the Sonoma County Water Agency.
Public Comment Opportunities

Please click the button below to see opportunities to provide your input and comments.
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