Sonoma Water E-News | July 2018
Read on to learn about....
  • Sonoma Water: Our new name and a fun video!
  • Warm Springs Dam Hydropower Retrofit Project
  • A Major Milestone for Occidental County Sanitation District
  • The Sonoma County Youth Ecology Corps Kick-Off
  • The Lake Sonoma Watershed Fire Camera Pilot Project
  • Water Wise, Summer and Beyond: Water-saving irrigation tips
  • A Rainfall and Water Storage Update
Clean. Reliable. Essential. Every Day.
Sonoma Water is our new name and with it comes a new, refreshed look. This is part of our community engagement initiative being implemented as a part of our strategic plan. Learn more by watching the below video.
Warm Springs Dam Hydropower Retrofit Project
The Warm Springs Dam is located in Geyserville, CA at the confluence of Warm Springs Dam and Dry Creek. Warm Springs Dam was completed by the United Stated Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) in 1984, creating Lake Sonoma, which stores water used for both domestic purposes and recreation. The Army Corps owns and operates the dam and is responsible for controlling the releases when the water levels exceed flood level elevations. The Water Agency manages the reservoir releases when the water levels are below the flood level elevations. Lake Sonoma feeds into Dry Creek which feeds into the Russian River. The Water Agency uses wells to extract water from the alluvial aquifer adjacent to and beneath the Russian River. Dry Creek is the conduit used to transport water from Lake Sonoma to the Water Agency’s groundwater extraction wells along the Russian River. 

When the dam was originally constructed, no hydropower facility was built, but provisions were made to accommodate construction of a new hydropower facility within the dam a few years later. In 1985, the Water Agency began construction of the Hydropower Facility. The Hydropower Facility was completed in 1989. Releases of water from the Dam flow through the Hydropower Facility. This generates renewable, reliable electricity as water discharges into Dry Creek. 
Since the Hydropower Facility was constructed, it has produced approximately 9,000–16,000 megawatt-hour per year and has performed well with minimal repairs over the years. The system is now over thirty years old, and although it has not had major performance issues, the Water Agency found it necessary to perform a Condition Assessment from 2016-2017 with the aim of improving system efficiency, resiliency, and the useful service life of the system. The completion of the Condition Assessment led to the conclusion that although the system mechanically requires little work, electrically the system is outdated and needs improvements. These improvements will be addressed in the Warm Springs Dam Hydropower Retrofit project which will begin the design stage this summer.
A Major Milestone for Occidental County Sanitation District
Occidental County Sanitation District’s (OCSD) history of non-compliance is finally coming to an end. The Regional Water Quality Control Board has required improvements that would allow OCSD to no longer violate Clean Water Act. Unfortunately, after many years of trying to solve the non-compliance problems, OCSD and its stakeholders were unable to come up with a solution that worked for everyone.  With few options and the regulatory clock running out, the decision to truck wastewater from OCSD’s lift station, entirely by-passing the need to provide treatment became the solution. Since January, this is exactly what has been happening. OCSD staff have been working out the wrinkles and figuring out how best to make it work before the deadline of July 31st. After it was determined that the trucking program would work, operations and maintenance staff began working on decommissioning the facilities. Now, OCSD is no longer a treatment facility with all of the regulatory requirements that go along with that. This is a major milestone for OCSD and one that has been years in the making!  
Sonoma County Youth Ecology Corps Kick-Off
A June 21 Kick-Off Work day and Picnic marked the 10th anniversary of the Sonoma County Youth Ecology Corps (SCYEC). This innovative program was created during the depths of the recession with the goal of employing at-risk teens and young adults in meaningful projects to benefit the community. Over its 10-year history, the SCYEC has employed more than 1,500 young people in summer crews that have removed trash and invasive species from local creeks; cleaned, maintained and built trails for local, regional and state parks; planted and harvested community gardens; and, this summer, helped to restore fire-damaged lands. In addition to crews, the SCYEC also employs young people to work in local non-profit and government agencies doing a wide variety of office tasks.
As the economy improved, many young adults that enter SCYEC are seeking more than a summer job – they are looking for possible career options. In response, the SCYEC created the Careers Pathway Program, a one-year employment opportunity for out-of-school youth. The CPP enrollees work for six months as a crew, and then are placed in individual internships in public agencies where they are exposed to career opportunities and can learn new skills. Twenty-four youth and young adults are participating in the CPP this summer.

SCYEC is administered by Sonoma County Human Services Department. Five Youth Agencies hire, train, and supervise the youth: The Center for Social and Environmental Stewardship (North County) - Conservation Corps North Bay (Central County) - Petaluma People Services Center (South County) - Social Advocates for Youth (Central and East County) and West County Community Services (West County).

Multiple Funding Sources provide support for the SCYEC. Funders include the Sonoma County Workforce Investment Board, Human Services Department, and the Sonoma County Water Agency.

The SCYEC looks forward to another 10 years as it continues to evolve to meet changing workplace and workforce needs.
Lake Sonoma Watershed Fire Camera Pilot Project
The Sonoma County Water Agency (Sonoma Water) is leading a collaboration of government and non-governmental organizations to build a network of high-definition cameras that will provide early fire detection in the Lake Sonoma Watershed and provide protection for the region’s key water source from the threat of wildfire.

A proposal for an eight-camera pilot program will be considered by Sonoma Water’s Board of Directors on Aug. 7, 2018 during the board’s regular meeting. This initial network could provide the basis for a proposed five-county system that would be known as AlertNorthBay, which will be modelled after existing fire camera networks currently operating in the Lake Tahoe region, state of Nevada, and San Diego County.
The Lake Sonoma Fire Camera Pilot Project will provide live-streaming views of the lake’s watershed and provide real-time information to firefighting staff and be accessible to the public. The state-of-the-art system uses infrared technology for night vision, and allows fire officials to take over command of the fires during wildfire emergencies to monitor fire and weather activity.

Following the devastating fires of October 2017, the Sonoma County Water Agency began working with the Sonoma County Department of Fire and Emergency Services, Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department, CAL FIRE, Sonoma County Information Systems Department, Pepperwood Preserve, and the AlertWildfire university consortium, led by the Nevada Seismological Laboratory at the University of Nevada Reno, to launch a pilot project to install a network of high-definition pan-tilt-zoom cameras for an early fire detection system for Lake Sonoma.
A fire camera stationed in the mountains of San Diego 
The main water supply for more than 600,000 residents in Sonoma and Marin counties is Lake Sonoma, a reservoir located in northern Sonoma County with a 130-square-mile watershed that has historically been prone to wildfires. A major wildfire could result in catastrophic sedimentation or landslides that would threaten the lake’s water supply function, with potential impacts to water quality, downstream forest health, and endangered species in the Russian River watershed.
Water Wise, Summer and Beyond
It may be time to adjust your irrigation controller to match your landscape needs. As the weather changes, so do the needs of your landscape. Typically July is the highest landscape water use month, but as we approach August, the water our landscape needs tends to decrease. 

You can use July’s water use to help you calculate how you should be irrigating for the rest of the season. If you have a Smart Controller, it makes those irrigation run time adjustments for you, but if not, you need to make the adjustments yourself. For every 10 minutes per week you irrigated in July, here is how many minutes per week you should change the run time to for the next couple of months.
If your irrigation controller has a seasonal % adjustment option, use the chart below to make the changes.
Looking to save even more water? One of the best ways is to try out low water use plants, like the For the month of July, turf in Santa Rosa needs about 3 gallons or more of water per square foot to look good. Medium water use plants, like the coneflower shown below, need about 1-2 gallons per square foot. Low water use plants, like yarrow shown below, need about ½ to 1 gallon per square foot. Changing a 500-square-foot landscape from turf to low water using plants can save as much as 2,500 gallons in July alone!
Coneflower, a medium water use plant
Yarrow, a low water use plant
Rainfall and Water Storage Update
Current water supply conditions (7/23/18)

Lake Mendocino
Target Storage Curve: 81,063 acre-feet
Current Storage: 76,328 acre-feet (94.16% of Target)

Lake Sonoma
Target Storage Curve: 245,000 acre-feet
Current Storage: 213,845 acre-feet (87.28% of Water Supply Pool)

Current rainfall conditions (10/1/17 - 7/22/18)

Average (1894-2017 water years): 36.56”
Current Water Year: 23.49” which is 64.25% of average

Santa Rosa:
Average (1950-2017 water years): 30.24"
Current Water Year: 25.12” which is 83.07% of average
Upcoming Events

  • July 31, 2018, 8:30 am - Special closed session
  • August 2, 2018, 6:00 pm - Fire Recovery Community Planning Meeting
  • August 7, 2018, 8:30 am
  • August 8, 2018, 6:00 pm - Fire Recovery Community Planning Meeting
  • August 14, 2018, 8:30 am

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

Sonoma Water is one of the primary agencies working to carry out the Russian River Biological Opinion, which is a federally mandated 15-year blueprint to help save endangered ­fish and ensure our water supply. The Biological Opinion focuses on protecting steelhead, coho salmon and Chinook salmon in the Russian River.
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.
Sonoma Water | 404 Aviation Blvd, Santa Rosa, CA 95403 |