Sonoma County is in a drought
Because of lack of rain, Sonoma County is experiencing moderate to severe drought conditions that will persist through of 2021 and perhaps longer. The California State Water Control Board has issued warning to water utilities — including the City of Healdsburg — and agricultural water customers to prepare for drought impacts statewide.
This winter, we received only 35 percent of typical rainfall: 13 inches compared to the average of 37 inches of rainfall. The two primary reservoirs that serve Sonoma County are Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino. The City of Healdsburg’s has water rights to Lake Mendocino to supplement drinking water demands, and the lake is currently at 44.7 percent of capacity as of April 2021.
The drought is impacting all of California. Snowpack typically provides about a third of the state’s water supply and as of April 8, snowpack is only about 56 percent of average.
Current drought conditions can be found at The National Oceanic and Atmosphere Agency (NOAA) Drought Monitor.
City of Healdsburg planning and response
The City encourages our water-utility customers to conserve water and is planning for mandatory conversation measures this summer. Mandatory measures will go into effect when the state declares a water shortage emergency and/or water rights and flow rates are curtailed. Like 2013-2014 mandatory conservation, residents will be required to reduce and adjust irrigation schedules, fix leaks in a timely fashion, and restrict new pool installations.
The City’s Utility Department has taken several steps to reduce water loss:
- Annually calibrate water-production meters to reduce loss
- Replaced the old, leaky wooden Sunset Tank with a water-tight steel tank
- With the help of the City’s Public Works Department, replacing old water mains
Other City departments are also identifying ways to reduce water use, such as reducing irrigation in parks and public space.
Please do your part to conserve water
To ensure sufficient water supply through the dry season, please use water wisely. The biggest opportunity to cut back on water usage is via irrigation and landscaping.
- Check your water meter for a leak. Instructions here.
- Do not install a pool this year
- Don’t plant lawns or water intensive non-native plants. Sonoma County Master Gardeners resources.
- Mulch and compost your existing landscaping
- Invest in laundry to landscaping greywater systems. Techincal support here.
- Replace old top loader washing machines with front loaders. Energy Star’s Most Efficient Clothes washers here.
- For more ways to save, visit: https://saveourwater.com/