Page 3 ~ Val Robichaud


Sonoma city council: 20% less water, 20% fewer councilmembers

Posted on June 22, 2021 by Val Robichaud

On a night when the Sonoma City Council replaced one member and learned yet another– the third in six months — was resigning, it found time to declare a drought emergency and mandate a 20% cut in water use. 

On the personnel side, Bob Felder, who has served on city commissions, was appointed to the council to replace Logan Harvey, who resigned last month to move to Seattle. That would have brought the panel to full five-member strength.

But there was also Amy Harrington’s formal announcement Monday night that she, too, will step down. Net loss for now, also 20%.

That seat must be filled in a special election as a majority of the panel cannot be appointed members. Kelso Barnett, suddenly a veteran political figure, has been on the job less than six months — he was appointed to replace Rachel Hundley, who, you guessed it, stepped down in January. 

Back to the impending water crisis. Effective July 1, all Sonoma residents, businesses, schools, and City facilities are required to cut indoor and outdoor water use by 20% over 2020 levels. 

Residential and commercial irrigation is prohibited except on Mondays and Thursdays from 8pm to 6am. Other prohibited uses, to begin July 1, 2021:

  • Refilling or initial filling of a swimming pool from the City’s water system except as otherwise needed to maintain the water level for the proper operation of swimming pool pumps and filters;
  • Use of water for non recirculating ornamental fountains by commercial customers;
  • Noncommercial washing of privately owned motor vehicles, trailers, and boats except from a bucket and a hose equipped with a shutoff nozzle;
  • Any use of water from a fire hydrant except for fighting fires. Use for essential construction needs may be permitted by the director upon submittal of a permit application for construction water;
  • Use of potable water for dust control at construction sites.

The following are exempt from irrigation restrictions:

  • Landscape irrigation zones that exclusively use drip irrigation systems
  • Watering or irrigating by use of a hand-held bucket or similar container, a hand-held hose equipped with a positive self-closing water shut-off nozzle or device, or for very short periods of time for the express purpose of adjusting or repairing an irrigation system.

The City will continue to water athletic fields and Sonoma Plaza. Turf irrigation in other City parks will be restricted to two days a week. 

While the Sonoma Municipal Code allows for various forms of enforcement, the City said its intent is to to urge voluntary compliance rather than impose harsh penalties. Staff will initially enforce with reminders when violations are noticed in the normal course of City business.

More information and updates can be found at



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