The drought is officially over in Sonoma County thanks to Mother Nature and a unanimous vote by the Board of Supervisors.
At its meeting this week, the board followed several other Bay Area water suppliers and voted to end the county’s drought emergency, which it enacted two years ago amid California’s driest-ever three-year period.
“But this is no time to go back to old habits. We don’t know when the next drought will arrive. If everyone does their part to conserve now, we will have more water available in the future for the entire community to share,” board chair Chris Coursey said.
The Board of Supervisors also acts as the governing body for Sonoma Water, which provides drinking water to 600,000 people in Sonoma and Marin counties.
The decision comes in the wake of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s March 24 executive order ending most of the statewide drought restrictions he initiated in April 2021.
“But this is no time to go back to old habits. … If everyone does their part to conserve now, we will have more water available in the future for the entire community to share.”Supervisor Chris Coursey
Because of the massive amount of rain and snow that fell on the state since December, when a fourth year of drought seemed to loom on the horizon, water districts around the Bay Area have been rolling back water use prohibitions for the past few weeks.
Water supply conditions have improved so much in Sonoma County that its two main reservoirs exceed their normal storage capacity this year for the first time since 2019, according to county officials.
Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino held 372,000 acre-feet of water on March 20, the most ever going into the dry season, county officials said in a news release Tuesday.
An acre-foot is enough water for three households for a year.
During the height of the drought, water users in Sonoma and Marin counties were called on to ramp up conservation and were able to reduce water use by 17 percent in 2021 and 2022 compared to 2020 levels, county officials said.
In addition to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, boards that have voted to end drought rules include those that govern the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, the Santa Clara Valley Water District, the Alameda County Water District, the East Bay Municipal Utility District and the Contra Costa Water District.