Sonoma County Water Agency officials have targeted $255,000 in nonprofit grant funds to assist study of the Russian River watershed and launch a pair of conservation projects. One of the water-saving projects aims to help the agency detect leaks on residential accounts.
The way sewage rates are levied for many Sonoma Valley residences has been changed to take into account how much sewage they actually discharge, out of fairness and as a way to promote conservation.
Sonoma County supervisors Tuesday formally approved preparation of a plan for more thorough management and study of groundwater in the Santa Rosa Plain. The 85-square mile area, stretching from Cotati to Windsor, has a 260-square-mile watershed, including surrounding uplands. The plan, which fulfills a state mandate, would outline a strategy to conserve groundwater supplies and increase use of recycled water in the region, among other goals.
State Parks Director Ruth Coleman said Friday she expects to approve Sonoma County’s bid to take over operations at Annadel State Park and spare the popular Santa Rosa park from closure this summer. Should that happen, people who now use the 5,000-acre park without paying fees may be in for a surprise. As part of its proposal to run the park, the county plans to install a day-use parking area on Channel Drive to prevent people from parking outside the gates and walking or biking in for free.
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.