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Sonoma County braces for more drought after four years with little rain


Sonoma County braces for more drought after four years with little rain

Sonoma County Water Agency General Manager Grant Davis comments on the State Water Resources Control Board’s 5-0 vote in favor of extending current restrictions on outdoor water use.  Watering of lawns will only be allowed twice a week and residents will have to wait two days after rainfall to water lawns.  California is now entering its fourth year of a drought. 

“The State Water Resources Control Board's actions today to readopt drought-related emergency regulations for urban water conservation statewide sends a simple message; all Californians must double down on their water conservation efforts during this fourth drought year. 

The Sonoma County Water Agency will work with its wholesale water customers and the State Water Board to ensure our region continues to adhere to these statewide conservation requirements set by the State Water Board today.  Our region has successfully reduced its per capita water use from 128 gallons per day in 2013 to 110 gallons per day in 2014.  It is because of these tremendous savings, efficient water supply management, and two atmospheric river events this winter that we are seeing local reservoir water storage levels near average for this time of the year. 

Now we all have the job to keep that water in our local reservoirs by not wasting it; we never have enough water to waste.  The Water Agency, along with the Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership ( are prepared to help our community save that water by offering indoor and outdoor water saving rebates. 

We will also send out our friendly staff to personally audit your household's water use and find those pesky hard to find water leaks.  All you have to do is contact us and we will help you do the rest.  Please take advantage of these water saving resources by visiting   The Water Agency remains committed to securing our future by investing in our water resources, community and environment and that includes beating this drought.  For more drought information and to view current water supply levels, please go to”

Prohibited water use:

The prohibitions on potable water use, first adopted in 2014 by the State Water Board, will continue, and new prohibitions will go into effect. All Californian’s are now prohibited from:

  • washing down sidewalks and driveways;
  • watering outdoor landscapes in a manner that causes excess runoff;
  • washing a motor vehicle with a hose, unless the hose is fitted with a shut-off nozzle;
  • operating a fountain or decorative water feature, unless the water is part of a recirculating system; and
  • irrigating turf or ornamental landscapes during and 48 hours following measurable precipitation.

New prohibitions affecting commercial businesses include:

  • restaurants and other food service establishments can only serve water to customers on request; and
  • operators of hotels and motels must provide guests with the option of choosing not to have towels and linens laundered daily and prominently display notice of this option.

Sonoma County reservoir levels 3-23-15


Water Supply Conditions at Lake Sonoma, Lake Mendocino

The Sonoma County Water Agency manages the water supply storage within Lake Mendocino and Lake Sonoma.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operates the flood control storage of each reservoir.  Lake Mendocino relies on year-to-year rainfall to fill and water diverted from the Potter Valley Project.  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.  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. Lake Sonoma is about four times larger than Lake Mendocino and can provide multiple years of water supply.  Lake Sonoma provides a majority of the Water Agency's service area with its drinking water. Learn more about current drought conditions here. 

Please note: these visual charts are updated weekly. Click here to view water supply data tables updated daily.