Sonoma County Water Agency E-News | May 2017
On April 25, 2017 the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors and the Sonoma County Water Agency Board of Directors unanimously approved the formation of three joint powers agreements. These agreements will result in the creation of three new groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) that will ensure that the Santa Rosa Plain, Petaluma Valley and Sonoma Valley basins continue to have safe and reliable groundwater in the future.

The new agencies are required by a 2014 state law, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). The first requirement of SGMA is the creation of GSAs, which are regulatory bodies responsible for developing and implementing plans to sustainably manage groundwater. To bring a basin’s groundwater into sustainability, the GSAs can develop recharge projects, promote recycled water, and provide incentives for water conservation, along with regulating groundwater use.  GSAs are intended to ensure that there is a balance in the amount of water that is going out of and coming into groundwater basins.
A final step in the creation of the GSAs are public hearings in each basin. These hearings will be held on:
The Sonoma County Water Agency will hold its annual meeting on Monday, May 15, 2017 to update the community on the Russian River Estuary Management Project. The meeting will be held at the Monte Rio Community Center, 20488 Highway 116, Monte Rio, from 6-7:30 p.m.

The meeting will consist of a presentation on the Russian River Estuary Management Project, which will include information about the annual outlet channel management plan, and updates on the estuary water quality monitoring and pinniped monitoring programs. There will be a question and answer session following the presentations.
The Water Agency operates eight sanitation systems in Sonoma County.  Fees from ratepayers are used to collect wastewater from homes and businesses, turn this wastewater into recycled water, and then release this water back into streams or provide it to farms, parks, schools, and others for outdoor irrigation and other beneficial uses.  The recycled water produced by the various treatment plants must meet numerous regulatory requirements aimed at protecting public health, water quality, and the environment.

Equipment and facilities used to treat wastewater must operate reliably under harsh conditions and need to be replaced or rebuilt on a regular basis.  Fees collected from ratepayers pay for such replacements and rebuilds.  Between 1995 and 2014 more than $140 million in capital expansion and replacement projects were funded among the eight systems.  

Annual rate increases have averaged below 6% for the sanitation districts and zones operated by the Water Agency.  By comparison, sewer rate increases for municipal wastewater systems in Sonoma County over the past 10 years averaged 8% per year.
  The goal is to maintain and replace facilities and equipment in order to operate safely, preserve the systems’ assets, and protect ratepayers’ investments.

The Sonoma Water Agency Board of Directors will hold a public hearing to consider increasing the annual sewer service fees in the eight, Water Agency operated sanitation zones.

Sanitation Rate Hearing
May 16th, 2017 – 10:00 a.m.
Sonoma County Board Meeting , 575 Administration Drive, Room 102A, Santa Rosa
May 13th, 2017 – 10:00 a.m. till 4:00 pm

The Eco-Friendly Garden Tour promotes sustainable landscaping practices by showcasing twenty-four inspiring gardens throughout Sonoma County and North Marin. The tour includes several plant sales and provides valuable sustainable landscaping information through workshops and talks.  The Eco-Friendly Garden Tour is self-guided and is provided free of charge.
Cumulative rainfall numbers for the time period of October 1 through May 1:

Ukiah: 51.57” which is 147.18% of average and 19.58” away from breaking record annual total rainfall (WY 1998: 71.15”)

Santa Rosa: 60.03” which is 209.07% of average and 4.30” above previous record annual total rainfall (WY 1983: 55.73)
Water Supply
Lake Mendocino: 97,313 acre-feet, 113.22% of target water supply storage

Lake Sonoma: 252,424 acre-feet, 103.03% of target water supply storage
Month Events Calendar
  • 5/2/2017
  • 5/16/2017
  • 5/23/2017

Eco-Friendly Garden Tour

  • 5/13/2017

Russian River Estuary Community Meeting

  • 5/15/2017

North Bay Watershed Association Board Meeting

  • 5/5/2017

Water Agency Holiday Closure

  • 5/29/2017 - Memorial Day
Employment Opportunities
We invite you to explore the career opportunities available with the Sonoma County Water Agency.
Fact of the Month

This year, the Water Agency's Education group will bring more than 4500  students on field trips to the Russian River.

This E-News is produced by the Water Agency's Community & Government Affairs Department.  We want to hear from you!  Contact us with your questions. 
Sonoma County Water Agency