Sonoma Water E-News | September 2020
Thank You First Responders 
Sonoma Water and the Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership thank the firefighters and emergency responders who worked so hard to fight the Walbridge and Meyers Fires and protect our communities and critical water supply facilities.

To our water customers, who saved millions of gallons of water when it was needed: Thank you for saving water during this emergency.

The Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership includes the following cities and agencies:
City of Cotati
City of Healdsburg
City of Petaluma
City of Rohnert Park
City of Santa Rosa
City of Sonoma
Town of Windsor
North Marin Water District
Valley of the Moon Water District
Marin Municipal Water District
California-American Water (Larkfield-Wikiup)
Sonoma Water
Watershed Emergency Response Team 
Fortunately, the Walbridge & Meyers fires, associated with last month’s lightning strikes and fierce winds, are nearing full containment. Sonoma Water gratefully salutes the firefighting teams for their critical work under intense conditions of heat, wind and rugged terrain. Due to the fire’s proximity to Lake Sonoma, our region’s main reservoir for water supply and flood protection, a rapid assessment is underway to determine potential affects to the drinking water supply, which serves more than 600,000 customers in Sonoma and Marin counties. The burn area includes a five-mile stretch of the lake’s shoreline, located within the U.S. Army Corp's of Engineers (USACE) Lake Sonoma Recreation Area. Directors and managers from Sonoma Water and the USACE recently visited areas in the burn zone. Public health and safety, and watershed recovery, are immediate priorities.

The County of Sonoma, in collaboration with Sonoma Water, the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, Sonoma Resource Conservation District, and other partners have formed a Watershed Task Force of local, state and regional watershed experts to create a plan to protect the watershed and water resources. The plan will include a program for erosion control for private and public property. The County is also developing funding for erosion control measures on private property.

Sonoma Water’s Chief Engineer & Director of Groundwater Management, Jay Jasperse, is directing the Task Force’s impacts and hazards assessment work, watershed monitoring and will work closely with state emergency response teams to prioritize recovery actions. The work will address public health and safety concerns and protection of the ecosystem, which are vital to health of our watershed and our communities.
Temporary Urgency Change Petition
Storage in Lake Mendocino is approximately 3,500 acre-feet above the target water supply storage levels developed by Sonoma Water engineering staff for Lake Mendocino this year. This buffer has been increasing on average by about 40 acre-feet per day. This has been done while still maintaining minimum instream flows on the Upper and Lower Russian River near or above the minimum instream flows required in Sonoma Water’s water right permits for a dry water supply condition, well above the minimums authorized by the State Board Order. Additionally, the FERC order approving PG&E’s request for a variance to reduce minimum instream flow requirements required by their license expires on October 1. Consequently, starting October 1 transfers of Eel River by the Potter Valley Project will be above those used in the water supply modeling assumptions that supported Sonoma Water’s request to reduce minimum instream flow requirements to preserve storage at Lake Mendocino.  
Experts Question Impact of North Bay Wildfires on Endangered Coho Salmon
From ABC Channel 7, Wayne Freedman reports on what some experts are already beginning to wonder about the fire's potential impacts to endangered salmon in the Russian River watershed.
Wash More Dishes with Less Water
As many of us are spending more time at home and eating in more often than out, water use inside our homes has increased. With more dishes, coffee mugs, and flatware to clean, which method of doing the dishes is more efficient? Washing by hand or using the dishwasher?
The answer is just that little bit of good news we need right now – put them in the dishwasher. Newer EnergyStar rated dishwashers use just 3.5 gallons or less per load. That’s equivalent to running your kitchen faucet for less than two minutes! (A kitchen faucet has a maximum flow rate of 1.8 to 2.5 gallons per minute depending on when it was purchased.) Older dishwashers use 4.5 to 5 gallons per load, so even older models have hand washing beat.

Here are some tips to save even more water:
  • Scrape food scraps and residue off your dishes and into the compost bin instead of rinsing them off in the sink
  • Only run the dishwasher with a full load
  • Take the time to load the dishwasher neatly to fit more dishes in
  • Hand wash bulky items like pots and serving bowls to make room for more dishes
  • Select the shortest wash cycle that will get your dishes clean
  • Start the load after 9 p.m. to avoid peak energy rates
  • Choose the “no heat dry” setting for more energy savings
  • If it’s time for a new dishwasher, look for an EnergyStar labeled model
Know Your PG&E Public Safety Power Shut Off Area
A Public Safety Power Shutoff is when high temperatures, extreme dryness and record-high winds have created conditions in our state where any spark at the wrong time and place can lead to a major wildfire.

If severe weather threatens a portion of the electric system, it may be necessary for PG&E to turn off electricity in the interest of public safety. This is known as a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS).

No single factor drives a PSPS, as each situation is unique. PG&E carefully reviews a combination of many criteria when determining if power should be turned off for safety. 
Current Water Supply Conditions as of September 14, 2020

Lake Mendocino
Target Water Supply Curve: 68,336 acre-feet
Current Storage: 43,573 acre-feet
(63.76% of Target Water Supply Curve)
Lake Sonoma
Target Storage Curve: 245,000 acre-feet
Current Storage: 184,739 acre-feet
(75.4% of Water Supply Pool)

Current Rainfall Conditions
(10/1/19 – 9/13/20)

Average (1894-2019 water years): 36.72”
Current Water Year: 14.75” which is 40.17% of average

Santa Rosa:
Average (1950-2019 water years): 30.57"
Current Water Year: 19.23” which is 62.9% of average
Upcoming Events

Please visit for additional information from Sonoma County.

Board of Directors
The Board normally holds its regular meetings on Tuesdays, beginning at 8:30 a.m. and will be facilitated virtually through Zoom.

Upcoming Board meetings:
  • September 22 at 8:30 am
  • October 6 at 8:30 am
  • October 13 at 8:30 am

Board Agendas: 

Groundwater Sustainability Agency Board Meetings
  • October 22, 2020, 4:00 pm Petaluma Valley
  • September 28, 2020, 4:00 pm Sonoma Valley
  • October 8, 2020, 1:00 pm Santa Rosa Plain

National Preparedness Month (NPM) is recognized each September to promote family and community disaster planning now and throughout the year.

Learn how to stay informed, make a plan, build a Go bag, about neighborhood programs and emergency shelters.


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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