20% water cut in Santa Rosa up for consideration

Bay Area

The Santa Rosa City Council will consider Tuesday whether to declare a water shortage emergency and adopt Stage 3 of the city’s water shortage contingency plan.

The move would mandate a community-wide 20% reduction in water use, effective immediately.

The action would follow a state order allowing Santa Rosa water supplier, Sonoma Water, to reduce water releases from Lake Sonoma into the Russian River to protect the region’s dwindling water supply.

The state order requires Sonoma Water to reduce diversions from the Russian River by 20 percent, compared to 2018, from July to December. That reduction means less water available to Sonoma Water’s customers, including 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,” the city said Monday, in a press release.

Enacting stage 3 of the city’s water plan would also institute prohibit water waste due to “breaks, leaks, or excess use,” including leaking faucets, toilets, appliances, irrigation pipes and valves, broken sprinklers and runoff due to overwatering or misdirected sprinklers.

Using potable water for washing hard surfaces like sidewalks, driveways and patios, would be prohibited except in case of human health and safety. Same for pressure washing.

Shut-off nozzles would be required for hoses. Restaurants would only be allowed to serve water upon request. Lodging establishment would be required to provide message about wasting water and only wash linens upon request.

Landscape irrigation would only be permitted between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The council adopted voluntary 20 percent reductions in May. More information on saving water and available resources can be found at srcity.org/SaveWater.

The Santa Rosa City Council meets virtually at 4 p.m. June 29, at srcity.org/VirtualParticipation.

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