The Sonoma City Council unanimously voted this week to require local water providers to reduce water use 20 percent system-wide by July 1.
The council’s vote Monday to declare a Stage Two water shortage will require Sonoma Water and its contractors, including the city, to reduce diversions from the Russian River by 20 percent from last year’s usage between July 1 and mid-December.
The vote comes one week after the California State Water Resources Control Board ordered the county to reduce its water use due to worsening drought conditions in the Russian River basin, which feeds into Lake Sonoma, the primary drinking water source for roughly 600,000 people in Sonoma and Marin counties.
Under the Stage Two water shortage, after July 1 Sonoma residents, businesses, schools and city facilities will be prohibited from filling or refilling a pool using the city’s water system unless needed for proper filtration; using water for ornamental fountains; washing a vehicle, trailer or boat with a hose that does not have a shutoff nozzle; using water from a fire hydrant for anything other than fighting a fire; controlling dust at a construction site using potable water; and using water for most irrigation outside of the allotted time on Mondays and Thursdays from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Landscape irrigation using drip systems, watering with a hand-held bucket or hose with a shutoff nozzle and irrigation of athletic fields and the Sonoma Plaza are exempt from the temporary irrigation ban, according to city officials.
The city does not intend to impose harsh penalties for entities that do not follow the water use restrictions and city officials hope residents and businesses will comply of their own volition.
The city provides information and updates on drought mitigation efforts on its website.