The Petaluma City Council voted 5-2 Monday to raise water and sewer rates while attaching future rate hikes to the pace of inflation. The water bill for a typical Petaluma resident will increase 3.8 percent in the new year, while the sewer bill will rise 2.6 percent. The hikes are the smallest rate increases in Petaluma in years, but some residents were still angry, wanting a break after years of soaring bills, particularly for sewer service.
The county Water Agency has a responsibility to assure the Russian River remains healthy and sustainable, says Brenda Adelman, chairwoman of the Russian River Watershed Protection Committee. She says there are many questions about its plan to manage the estuary, where the river meets the Pacific Ocean.
Petaluma residents will likely see small water and sewer rate hikes for each of the next five years as the city looks at passing on wholesale water costs to customers and adopts annual inflationary increases. But, the city’s water experts said, the hikes aren’t as bad as they could have been — and are lower than each of the last five years’ increases.
Some people would have you believe that the Sonoma County Water Agency is going to build a dam made of sand at the mouth of the Russian River while polluting river water and preventing visitors from using beautiful Goat Rock State Beach. Supervisor Efren Carrillo says nothing could be further from the truth.
A move by Sonoma County government into the role of power supplier to homes and businesses would come with trade-offs, according to a new study. The average ratepayer would pay more for electricity — $4 to $10 a month — for power provided by the county, compared to PG&E. But greenhouse gas emissions would fall and the new agency would create jobs. The supes take up the report on Tuesday.
Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation to ease the path for local governments — including the Sonoma County Water Agency — seeking to establish their own power agencies. The bill by state Sen. Mark Leno strengthens existing law requiring privately owned utilities to cooperate with public power efforts.
A river protection group is challenging the Sonoma County Water Agency’s environmental report on breaching the sandbar at the mouth of the Russian River. A lawsuit by the Russian River Watershed Protection Committee claims the environmental report doesn’t adequately address harmful impacts and offer alternatives for recreation and water quality.
On paper, Windsor can’t quite supply water to all 1,733 future homes in its development pipeline. But the town is working on options to enable it to meet its water commitments, including a new well site, conservation and increasing use of recycled wastewater.
The Board of Supervisors decided the benefits of creating a fresh-water lagoon in the Russian River at Jenner for the survival of juvenile steelhead outweigh the negatives, such as the possibility of worsening water quality. The board, which faced a violation of the federal Endangered Species Act if it did not take action, approved the final environmental report on the Sonoma County Water Agency’s project.