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Sonoma County Drought Conditions Updates


Sonoma County Drought Conditions Updates

The Sonoma County Water Agency has developed a web page with current information on the drought, water storage conditions, the petition, news articles, etc. 

Please go to:

Share this page with your stakeholders and visit it often as new information will be posted often. 

Drought Condition Update

On December 19, 2013, in response to the driest calendar year on record in the upper Russian River watershed, the Water Agency asked the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to improve reservoir management of Lake Mendocino. If approved by the SWRCB, this action will help preserve water in Lake Mendocino. For additional information, please see:

With extremely dry conditions persisting since January 2013, the Sonoma County Water Agency’s service area is currently experiencing drought conditions. This declaration comes as severely low water storage levels are coupled with the driest year of record. Of particular concern is Lake Mendocino with a critically low water supply (29,020 acre-feet as of December 15, 2013). Lake Mendocino is a key drinking water source for the cities of Ukiah, Healdsburg, Cloverdale and Hopland, and also provides water to the Water Agency’s Russian River water supply system. Additionally, water releases from Lake Mendocino support flows in the Russian River for the threatened Chinook salmon and steelhead trout during the fall and winter seasons.

The Water Agency continues to work proactively with key stakeholders in the upper Russian River watershed to efficiently manage water resources. Additionally, the Agency is taking action to address the limited water supply picture and minimize impacts on urban and agricultural water users, including a meeting with the State Water Resources Control Board to consider reducing upper Russian River flows between Lake Mendocino and Healdsburg to sustain water storage levels in Lake Mendocino. Reducing flows will allow water managers more flexibility to balance water needs of fish and people.

To improve atmospheric river forecasting, the Water Agency is working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Hydrometeorological Testbed Program. The region receives most of its rainfall in these atmospheric river events which have occurred with reduced frequency and intensity in recent years. Additionally, the Water Agency is implementing long term projects that will provide secure and reliable water supplies for the future including programs for the sustainable management of groundwater resources in the Alexander Valley, Santa Rosa Plain and Sonoma Valley as well as implementation of water reuse programs throughout our service area.