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Stage 2 Water Shortage effective July 1  --  Help Sonoma reduce water use by 20%

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Current Drought Information

Due to historically low rainfall and continued dry conditions, our region is facing the second consecutive year of drought. A reduction in water use through conservation measures by the City’s water customers is needed to preserve critical water supplies.

Learn more about stage 2 water conservation measures, report water waste and get answers to the most frequently asked questions below.

Photo: Councilmembers Kelso Barnett and Jack Ding along with Mike Brett, the City's water conservation coordinator, handed out drought kits during Sonoma Water's 'Drought Drop By' event in June 2021.

Stage 2 Water Shortage Effective July 1, 2021

On June 21,  in response to notification of reduced allocations of water from the Russian River through the Sonoma Aqueduct, the City Council unanimously voted to declare a Stage 2 Mandatory Conservation Water Shortage for the City of Sonoma water service area.

Help Sonoma reduce water use by 20%

We are asking customers to save as much water as they can. The City of Sonoma has mandated a 20 percent reduction in overall water use in our service area.

Some customers can reduce their water use by more than 20%, while others are already saving water and using minimal amounts. With all of us making our best effort to save water, we can reach our collective conservation goal.

Frequently Asked Questions

To meet the required 20% water usage reduction, the following actions will be prohibited effective July 1, 2021:

  • Refilling or initial filling of a swimming pool from the City’s water system except as otherwise needed to maintain the water level for the proper operation of swimming pool pumps and filters;
  • Use of water for nonrecirculating ornamental fountains by commercial customers;
  • Noncommercial washing of privately owned motor vehicles, trailers, and boats except from a bucket and a hose equipped with a shutoff nozzle;
  • Any use of water from a fire hydrant except for fighting fires. Use for essential construction needs may be permitted by the director upon submittal of a permit application for construction water;
  • Use of potable water for dust control at construction sites; and
  • Residential and commercial irrigation except on Monday and Thursday nights from 8pm to 6am.

The following are exempt from Stage 2 irrigation restrictions:

  • Landscape irrigation zones that exclusively use drip irrigation systems
  • Watering or irrigating by use of a hand-held bucket or similar container, a hand-held hose equipped with a positive self-closing water shut-off nozzle or device, or for very short periods of time for the express purpose of adjusting or repairing an irrigation system
  • Irrigation of athletic fields
  • Irrigation of the City’s Plaza

In addition, water users are encouraged to take the following recommended actions:

  • Inspect all irrigation systems, repair leaks, and adjust spray heads to provide optimum coverage and eliminate avoidable over-spray.
  • For irrigation valves controlling water applied to lawns, vary the minutes of run time consistent with fluctuations in weather.
  • Reduce minutes of run-time for each irrigation cycle if water begins to run off to gutters and ditches before the irrigation cycle is completed.
  • Utilize water conservation rebate and other incentive programs to replace high water-use plumbing fixtures and appliances with water-efficient models.
  • Utilize City information on using water efficiently, reading water meters, repairing ordinary leaks, and applying water efficiently to landscaping.

 

No. The 20% reduction target for Sonoma is Citywide.  Sonoma shall reduce its overall water use by 20% compared to the average of 2018-2020 consumption. Sonoma’s target is not applied to each individual customer, but to the City as a whole. Individual water customers are asked to conserve water, comply with mandated restrictions, take advantage of the City’s water conservation rebate programs, and eliminate water waste.

Stage 2 will be in place until water supply levels recover or until water shortage conditions become worse and the City implements Stage 3 or higher of the Water Shortage Control Plan to reduce the gap in water supply and customer water use.

Turning off your irrigation, or significantly reducing your irrigation, is an easy way to have big water savings. If you are unable to stop irrigating your landscape, the following steps can help with reducing outdoor water use:

  • Thoroughly check your irrigation system to ensure there are no breaks, leaks, or water waste occurring when it is on or off.
  • Only run sprinkler or spray irrigation systems on Monday and Thursday nights between 8 pm and 6 am.
  • Schedule your drip irrigation to run between 8 pm and 6 am to reduce evaporation.
  • Reassess your irrigation program weekly. Turn off irrigation in cool weather or when it rains.
  • Use shorter run times to allow water to fully soak into the landscape and to reduce runoff.
  • Use mulch to retain moisture.
  • Hand water when needed instead of using an automatic irrigation system.
  • Reuse warm-up or rinse water from sinks and showers/tubs to hand-water plants that need it.

Irrigation of lawn or turf with sprinklers or sprayers is restricted to Monday and Thursday nights between 8 pm and 6 am.

No over-watering (excessive water running off properties and onto sidewalks or gutters, or ponding of water on properties) is allowed, nor is watering allowed within 48 hours of measurable rain (1/8”).

The two-day irrigation water restrictions apply to sprinkler or sprayer systems. Drip irrigation and watering with a hose with a self-closing nozzle is not limited to two days a week.

It is, however, requested that everyone reduce their outdoor irrigation as much as possible and to water only between the hours of 8 pm – 6 am, regardless of your irrigation method.

Car-washing can be done any day of the week but must be done with a hose equipped with an automatic shut-off nozzle or a bucket. Hoses may not be left running.

Consider taking your car to a Water Smart Car Wash. Remember, many local car washes recycle their water on-site and use it many times before draining it back into the sewer systems. These procedures help conserve water and protect local waterways by limiting the amount of soap and oil that flow untreated down storm drains into creeks.

Sonoma purchases 90 percent of our water from Sonoma Water and 10 percent is pumped from the city’s wells. For more information on Sonoma Water supply and water shortage reservoirs levels, please visit sonomawater.org/drought.

While the Sonoma Municipal Code allows for various forms of enforcement, it is City staff’s intent to urge voluntary compliance rather than impose harsh penalties. Staff will initially enforce with reminders when violations are noticed in the normal course of City business. Direct mailed notices, media releases, and temporary signage will be provided to remind residents of the water restrictions in force.

Everyone can do their part to use water wisely, but some people need a friendly reminder.

If you observe water waste or would like to alert the City of a concern, please contact the City of Sonoma Public Works Department.

To report water waste outside of the City of Sonoma water service area on the Marin-Sonoma water-saving partnership website.

While people can’t water their lawns as much, Sonoma’s Plaza Park is exempted due to its heavy use and as one gathering place where residents and children can enjoy green turf. Athletic fields offer safe places for recreation during the drought.

Flexible irrigation days and times are needed to support events on the Plaza and to respond to impacts in particular areas of the park. The City continues to manage irrigation of the Plaza to minimize water waste. Turf irrigation in other City parks is limited to two days per week.

 

 

Yes. Being proactive and conserving water now will ensure that our region maintains a sufficient supply of water for firefighting, human consumption, and sanitation.  The City’s water system will continue to maintain pressure and water storage volumes for firefighting needs.

Background

On June 7, the City Council declared a Stage 1 Water Shortage with voluntary conservation measures.  Under Stage 1, all Sonoma residents, businesses, schools, and City facilities are urged to cut their indoor and outdoor water use by at least 15% and put in place Stage 1 water conservation measures.

On June 21,  in response to notification of reduced allocations of water from the Russian River through the Sonoma Aqueduct, the City Council unanimously voted to declare a Stage 2 Mandatory Conservation Water Shortage for the City of Sonoma water service area, effective July 1, 2021.  Stage 2 requires a 20% reduction in water use system-wide and a series of additional water conservation regulations, including a prohibition on residential and commercial irrigation except on Mondays and Thursdays from 8pm to 6am.  Learn more about Stage 2 water conservation measures here.

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