Sonoma City Council declares stage 1 water shortage


Faced with drought conditions and lack of rain relief until perhaps fall, the City of Sonoma (City) said a Step 1 Water scarcity, which seeks voluntary retention from clients.

The city council voted unanimously this week to adopt the initial phase of the city’s water shortage contingency plan (WSCP) to ensure there is always enough supply for the 11 725 who depend on the city daily to provide high quality water. Effective immediately, all residents, businesses, schools and facilities in the City of Sonoma, including parks, are urged to reduce their indoor and outdoor water use by at least 15%.

“It is important that we all do our part and reduce our daily water consumption,” said Deputy Mayor Madolyn Agrimonti. “We have had two consecutive years of drought and we need to protect our water supply. Let’s make sure we do what we can to use less water outdoors and conserve as much as possible.

Sonoma County is experiencing severe drought conditions that will persist until 2021 and possibly longer due to historically low rainfall. On April 5, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a drought emergency in the Russian River watershed, which spans Sonoma and Mendocino counties. It was two weeks after the California State Water Resources Board warned water utilities, including the city, and agricultural water customers to prepare for the effects of drought statewide.

“I know from experience that the people of Sonoma support each other in an emergency,” says Colleen Ferguson, director of public works. “I witnessed this during the fires of 2017, the power cuts of 2019 and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Now we are in a the water emergency – time to fix leaks and eliminate wasted water to ensure there is enough water for basic needs during summer and fall.

A Phase 1 water scarcity declaration requires all water customers to take the following actions:

  • Apply irrigation water only in the evening and early in the morning (8:00 p.m. – 7:00 a.m.) to reduce evaporative losses.
  • Inspect all irrigation systems, repair leaks and adjust spray heads to provide optimal coverage and eliminate avoidable overspray.
  • For irrigation valves controlling water applied to lawns, vary the minutes of operation depending on weather fluctuations.
  • Reduce the minutes of run time for each irrigation cycle if water begins to flow into gutters and ditches before the irrigation cycle ends.
  • Learn about and obey city water discharge bans – see Sonoma City Code Article 13.10.060 for details.
  • Use water conservation discounts and other incentive programs to replace water-intensive plumbing fixtures and appliances with water-efficient models.
  • Use City information on efficient water use, reading water meters, repairing common leaks, and applying water efficiently in landscaping.

Conservation is already underway in City parks and facilities. The City has reduced its water use by converting areas of sod in City parks, placing rain sensors on irrigation controllers, installing waterless urinals in toilets at the Plaza and Depot Park, by washing City vehicles less this summer and reacting quickly to water leaks.

Beyond the requests listed above, Water Conservation Coordinator Mike Brett encourages residents to conserve water by using common sense water conservation practices such as taking more showers. short, run your dishwasher and washing machine only when full, and turn off the water while brushing your teeth. “Every drop really counts and every effort to save water is important,” says Brett.

To meet the requested reduction, Brett says reducing irrigation and installing water-efficient fixtures and fixtures are two of the most effective actions residents can take. “We’ve been here before,” says Brett, who worked for the city during the 2014 drought, “and I know our community is up to the challenge of saving water with us. “

You can find more information and updates at

Drought Drop By – June 12

To help our community reduce water consumption, the city, in partnership with Sonoma Water and Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership, is coordinating a Drought Drop By event in front of City Hall on June 12, 2021 from 9:00 a.m. to 1: 00h. City staff and council members will be handing out free drought toolkits to residents who will go on a first come, first served basis. While stocks last. Limit of one kit per household. Kits include:

  • Bucket to collect water for reuse
  • WaterSense Labeled Low Flow Shower Head
  • 5 minute shower timer
  • WaterSense Labeled Low Flow Faucet Aerator
  • Toilet tincture test tablets
  • Self-closing garden hose nozzle

With everyone’s health and safety in mind, COVID security protocols will be in effect. Please wear a mask and follow social distancing protocols. Participants should stay in their vehicle if driving to the event and stay within 6 feet of each other if arriving on foot or by bicycle.

Water conservation resources

Residents can find more resources to help save water, including Water conservation tools, Water conservation actions, and free Helps in water conservation, in addition to Water conservation faqs on the city’s water conservation page

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