Forum to discuss drought planned for RP April 23
County says 2013 qualifies as driest year on record
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By Dave Williams  April 4, 2014 12:00 am

The recent rainstorms that have hit Northern California are more than welcome, but experts continue to say they are making little, if any dent, in the statewide drought situation.

With no immediate end in sight to the drought, the cities and towns in Sonoma County, as well as local water organizations have been taking steps to promote water conservation and to better use the limited supplies of water remaining.

That’s why Sonoma County residents, agriculture and businesses are encouraged to attend one of four upcoming drought town hall meetings scheduled this month to learn about the drought, receive an update on water supply conditions and hear from local organizations about water conservation rebate programs.

Several dry years combined with the driest year of record in 2013 have culminated in drought conditions across the region.  The meetings are co-hosted by the Sonoma County Water Agency, Sonoma Resource Conservation District, County of Sonoma, Cities of Cloverdale and Healdsburg, members of the Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership, including the City of Santa Rosa, City of Rohnert Park, City of Petaluma, and the Town of Windsor.  

The meeting in Rohnert Park is scheduled for April 23 from 6-8 p.m. in City Council chambers at 130 Avram Ave.

Meeting participants can expect to meet water supply, conservation and regulatory officials to discuss the drought and ongoing efforts to provide relief to our community.  Informational tables will provide conservation materials, such as water wise gardening brochures, applications for water use efficiency rebate pro “Despite the rain, our region still faces a drought due to the lack of rainfall over the past several years,” said Water Agency General Manager Grant Davis. “We encourage all residents, businesses and the agricultural community to attend a town hall meeting closest to you to learn more about the drought and how to beat it.  Local agencies will be at each meeting to provide critical drought relief assistance and conservation rebate program information.  There are tools available to help our community beat this drought that will be made available at these meetings.” 

While the recent rain has helped increase storage levels in local reservoirs, Lake Mendocino remains below 50 percent of water supply capacity and Lake Sonoma’s water supply capacity is holding steady at around 74 percent; both well below average storage levels for this time of the year.  Below is current rainfall data to date:

• Ukiah region (July to March 30): Average (1894-2013) 33.3 inches; current year – 13.9 inches, which is 41.7 percent of average.

• Santa Rosa (July to March 30): Average (1952-2013) 27.8 inches; current  year – 15.7 inches, which is 56.4 percent of average.

The other meetings are: 

• April 23, 6-8 p.m., Santa Rosa Finley Center, 2060 W. College Ave., Santa Rosa.

• April 29, 6-8 p.m., Town of Windsor Council Chambers, 9291 Old Redwood Hwy., Windsor.

• April 30, 6-8 p.m., Lucchesi Community Center, 320 N. McDowell Blvd., Petaluma.

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