Sonoma Water E-News | October 2018
Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership Wins National Awards for its Training, Outreach and Education Programs
The Sonoma-Marin Water Saving Partnership (Partnership), a group of North Bay water utilities, has once again been recognized with national awards for its water-saving efforts. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded the Partnership its second consecutive Sustained Excellence Award for continuing to improve its irrigation-professional training program by upgrading its curriculum and training materials. The Partnership also received a 2018 Excellence Award for its outreach efforts that included promoting the use of water-saving showerheads and faucet aerators for homes and businesses. The Partnership was awarded two of the 21 WaterSense awards that were handed out October 5, 2018 at the WaterSmart Innovations Conference in Las Vegas for helping Americans to save water, energy, and money. This is the fifth year in a row that the Partnership has received awards for its water efficiency efforts. The Partnership is a three-time WaterSense Partner of the Year award winner and this year earned a second Sustained Excellence Award. SMSWP is the parent organization for the WaterSense labeled Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL) professional certification program, which has helped certify more than 2,000 individuals to date through 16 organizations that offer the QWEL program.
Photo Caption: Greg Plumb, sixth from left, and Brian Lee, eighth from left, (both from Sonoma Water) accepted awards on behalf of the Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership at the recent EPA WaterSense awards ceremony.
 “This award and the continued acknowledgement of the QWEL program is gratifying and speaks to the value of the Sonoma-Marin Water Saving Partnership and our partners’ willingness to collaborate with all sectors of the community,” said Windsor Town Councilmember Mark Millan, chair of the Partnership’s Water Advisory Committee. “The QWEL program continues to grow and thrive and we are very proud of the work we have accomplished in achieving greater water-use efficiency in both theory and practice.” The Partnership received its fourth Excellence Award this year for promoting WaterSense labelled faucets and aerators during 115 commercial water-use audits that were performed. In addition the Partnership offered free Water Smart Home Evaluations to more than 3,000 homes in 2017, and provided free WaterSense labelled showerheads and aerators. The Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership represents 11 water utilities in Sonoma and Marin counties that have joined together to provide a regional approach to water-use efficiency. The utilities are the Cities of Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Petaluma, Sonoma, Cotati; North Marin, Valley of the Moon and Marin Municipal Water Districts, Town of Windsor, California American Water, and Sonoma Water (formerly Sonoma County Water Agency).
Wastewater Woman Campaign
A continuous battle our sanitation districts and zones face is the improper disposal of fats, grease and oil down the drain; as well as medications and wipes flushed down toilets. These materials can cause back-ups, infrastructure damage and release pollutants into our water systems. Sonoma Water’s Public Affairs and Industrial Waste Teams have worked to develop a public awareness campaign on these issues using the voice of ‘Wastewater Woman.’ Wastewater Woman was developed in a comic book-type theme, with the likeness of a wastewater treatment plant operator.
The three ads will run on social media as well as local newspaper publications in Sonoma Water’s sanitation districts. The campaign will run through the winter months and also have an accompanying pollution prevention webpage.
Goats: Beneficial Grazing on Public Lands
You may see sheep or goats grazing in a small number of our public lands and trails including Spring Lake – Sonoma Water has implemented a pilot grassland restoration program in an effort to better manage vegetation. Healthy grassland ecosystems need periodic disturbance such as those created by fire or grazing. The goals for this restoration program include: reducing the risk of fire, increasing biodiversity and supporting native species, increasing soil carbon and groundwater recharge, reducing or eliminating annual trailside mowing and weed eating by vegetation management crews, and supporting local agriculture. The cows, sheep, and goats grazing Sonoma Water property are owned by a contractor that has an agreement with Sonoma Water for grazing services. Grazing supports our local food system, and rejuvenating our public lands is an important part of protecting Sonoma County’s agricultural identity.

Sonoma Water staff is carefully monitoring the effects of grazing on the landscape by measuring the condition of soils, vegetation, birds, and endangered species in grazed parks. One can expect to see things like less poison oak near trails and more birds feeding on insects in an open grassland. One might worry that sheep and goats damage the parks, but the art and science is to make sure that we have enough disturbance, but not too much. Working with local ranchers, Sonoma Water is implementing grazing thoughtfully to reduce invasive species, improve carbon sequestration, support groundwater recharge, and benefit native wildlife. 
The 2018 Sonoma Water Local Hazard Mitigation Plan Formally Approved by FEMA
The Sonoma County Water Agency’s (Sonoma Water) 2018 Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (LHMP) – which is a blueprint for reducing the damage to Sonoma Water’s infrastructure from natural disasters, such as floods, droughts, fires, and earthquakes – has been formally approved by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA).

Sonoma Water must update its LHMP every five years to ensure it remains relevant to current events and system conditions and to meet funding eligibility requirements set forth by FEMA. The LHMP reviewed Sonoma Water’s vulnerabilities and risks, as well as a prioritized listing of hazard mitigation actions. An LHMP is a long-term strategy to reduce disaster losses and break the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage. The planning process included public and stakeholder involvement to assist Sonoma Water in updating its 2013 LHMP.

LHMPs are public documents that create a framework for risk-based decision making to reduce damage to lives, property, and the economy from future disasters, such as earthquakes, fires, and floods. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requires LHMPs to issue grant funding for pre-disaster and hazard mitigation actions. In 2004 the Sonoma County Water Agency initiated a natural hazard assessment, which was instrumental in creating Sonoma Water’s first LHMP in 2008. This LHMP was updated in 2013, and again in 2018 and includes a priority listing of hazard mitigation actions.
Rainfall and Water Storage Update
Current water supply conditions (11/5/18)

Lake Mendocino
Target Storage Curve: 55,220 acre-feet
Current Storage: 55,742 acre-feet (100.95% of Target)

Lake Sonoma
Target Storage Curve: 245,000 acre-feet
Current Storage: 188,717 acre-feet (77.03% of Water Supply Pool)

Current rainfall conditions (10/1/18 - 11/4/18)

Average (1894-2018 water years): 2.19”
Current Water Year: 1.33” which is 60.73% of average

Santa Rosa:
Average (1950-2018 water years): 2.06"
Current Water Year: 1.23” which is 59.71% of average
Upcoming Events

  • November 13, 2018, 8:30 am
  • November 13, 2018, 3:00 pm - Sonoma Valley GSA Advisory Committee Meeting
  • November 14, 2018, 5:30 pm - Petaluma Valley Basin GSA Advisory Committee Meeting
  • November 20, 2018 8:30 am
  • November 27, 2018, 8:30 am

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

The Chinook salmon are currently heading back up the Russian River in their yearly migration. As of 10/19/18, Water Agency Fisheries biologists have observed a total of 259 Chinook salmon at the Russian River Fish Ladder at the Mirabel Inflatable Dam.
Employment Opportunities

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

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