Santa Rosa City Council will consider declaring a water shortage emergency and adopting Stage 3 of the City’s Water Shortage Contingency Plan at their Council meeting on June 29, 2021.
The potential Council action would follow the State Water Resources Control Board’s (SWRCB) June 14th issuance of a Temporary Urgency Change Order that allowed Sonoma Water to reduce releases from Lake Sonoma into the Russian River and is necessary to protect the region’s dwindling water supply. The SWRCB’s Order also requires Sonoma Water to reduce their diversions from the Russian River by 20 percent, compared to 2020 from July through December. A 20 percent reduction in the amount of water that Sonoma Water can take from the Russian River equates to less water available for wholesale delivery to communities that Sonoma Water serves, such as Santa Rosa. For Santa Rosa residents and businesses, this means there will be an immediate shortage of water availability beginning July 1, 2021 and necessitates the need for Council to consider adoption of additional restrictions and prohibitions on water use.
If City Council adopts Stage 3 of the City’s Water Shortage Plan at its upcoming Council meeting, this would require a 20 percent mandatory community-wide reduction in water use, and would institute the following prohibitions and restrictions, which would become effective immediately:
- Water waste due to breaks, leaks, or excess use is prohibited. This includes leaking faucets, toilets, and appliances, as well as broken irrigation pipes, leaking irrigation valves, and broken sprinkler heads, and runoff from properties due to overwatering or misdirected sprinklers.
- Using potable water for washing hard surfaces (e.g., sidewalks, driveways, and patios) is prohibited, unless required for public health and safety.
- Hose-end shut-off nozzles are required for all hoses.
- Restaurants may only serve water upon request.
- Hotel and lodging establishments must message about the drought, including laundering of linens only upon request.
- Pressure washing with potable water (except for public health and safety) is prohibited unless a variance is obtained from Santa Rosa Water.
- Landscape irrigation is limited to the hours of 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
On May 18, 2021, City Council adopted a 20 percent voluntary community-wide reduction in water use resolution, encouraging residents to make voluntary changes to eliminate water waste and adopt water-saving behaviors. If City Council adopts Stage 3 of the City's Water Shortage Contingency Plan, going forward, Santa Rosa Water customers must comply with prohibitions and restrictions on water use and will be asked to make a concerted effort to find and fix leaks, reduce outdoor irrigation, take shorter showers, turn off the water while teeth brushing; and, if possible, make permanent changes, like converting lawn into low water- use landscapes (rebate available) or replacing inefficient water fixtures and appliances with WaterSense labeled products.
More information on the drought and water-saving tips and resources available from Santa Rosa Water may be found at srcity.org/SaveWater.