(KRON) – In the North Bay, Sonoma County held a virtual town hall on Thursday sharing details about emergency planning underway to respond to the drought it is currently dealing with.

“We’re in a significant drought,” Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore said. “Conserve water. Every drop counts.”

It was the county’s fourth virtual town hall on the drought. Gore said rainfall has been well below the average for the last two years.

“In the first six months of this year has been the driest in the past 128 years, with our rainfall twenty inches below normal,” he said. “Our water storage in Lake Sonoma is 50 percent. Water storage in Lake Mendocino is at 44 percent. We got work to do.”

Part of the work discussed Thursday includes expanding a drought task force.

“We’re doubling the number of members, providing more participation from all sorts of folks that are going to be having a hand and dealing with the effects of drought, and that task force will start work this month,” said Christopher Godley, Director of the Sonoma County Department of Emergency Management. 

Sonoma County is classified under severe drought conditions and is in its third-driest year. The panel of experts addressed the challenges that pose threats, like electrical power production, wildfires and water rights.

A senior engineer with the state water board says those along the Russian River Watershed can expect more curtailments of water rights after federal energy regulators gave PG&E the green light to reduce diversions from the Eel River, bound for Lake Mendocino. The town of Windsor is giving out free water at a recycled water fill station, offering residents and businesses a new way to help keep landscaping alive during the drought.

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“Is recycled water safe? Yes. Recycled water is regulated by the California Water Resources control board. Windsor staff are responsible for demonstrating that it leads to strict standards that are set by the board and is safe for reuse,” said Veronica Siwy, Windsor’s environmental program manager. 

The county will hold the next drought meeting in September.