Rain won't solve major water issues

Posted on March 31, 2014 by Sonoma Valley Sun

Don’t let the latest storm fool you: Sonoma Valley needs more water. On March 31, Supervisor Susan Gorin, who represents the Sonoma Valley and also serves as director of the Sonoma County Water Agency, will hold a public meeting on the state of the Valley water supply.

The forum will be held at Sonoma’s Vintage House, 264 First St. E. from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Several dry years combined with the driest year of record in 2013 have culminated in drought conditions across the region. Additionally, studies have found long-term declining groundwater levels, relatively low aquifer yield and saline intrusion in the south side of the Valley.

In light of these challenges, Gorin said, “(we) need to come together to find out more about our shared water supply, get questions answered, learn what agencies are doing to address these critical needs, and conserve water immediately in our daily lives.”

The Valley contains two large sources of groundwater in deep wells where more water has been pumped than has recharged. Over the past five years, monitoring has shown that these depressions have worsened. The areas experiencing these depressions (El Verano and southeast of Sonoma city limits) contain multiple uses, such as rural, residential and agricultural wells.

“Across California, groundwater basins are showing signs of decline, exacerbated by this year’s dry conditions, “said Tito Sasaki, President of the North Bay Agriculture Alliance and Basin Advisory Panel member. “Sonoma Valley is no exception – we’ve continued to see groundwater declines over the last decade or more.”

Additional topics of the March 31 meeting include strategies to address the water supply needs of Sonoma Valley, including stormwater management, groundwater recharge, groundwater banking of imported winter surplus water, increased use of recycled water, and increased water conservation efforts.

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