State mandates Inverness water emergency

But, there’s plenty of water. Huh?

The IPUD board meets on Wednesday, August 27 at 9am at the Inverness Firehouse. The public is invited to attend.

In a strange bureaucratic move, California’s State Water Resources Control Board, with unprecedented authority, has ordered that Inverness Public Utilities District declare a water emergency. Actually, Inverness has plenty of water.


The emergency mandate was not IPUD General Manager Scott McMorrow’s idea, but a one size fits all response from the state to deal with the severe California drought. McMorrow, like all other water district heads, has no choice but to recommend to the local water governing board at its next meeting that they comply with the mandate. And this mandate applies through April 25, 2015. At that point the state may extend or rescind it.


If you haven’t noticed, our little West Marin enclave is unique compared with other regions of California. For one thing, we don’t depend on the snow pack for our water supply. Inverness gets its water from local creeks that flow from Inverness Ridge. The water is then treated and stored. IPUD has various storage facilities sprinkled throughout Inverness that can store a total of 400,000 gallons. McMorrow says that this storage capacity is “not a lot- 5 to 12 days worth.” The stored water is then mostly gravity fed to individual homes. Available water that exceeds the storage capacity flows into Tomales Bay, “ a sort of use it or lose it situation” he adds. So far, the closely monitored creeks are doing well.


Normally at this time of the year – and with the severe lack of rain it’s clearly not normal – IPUD would gently remind people to use less water. Notices might go up in the post office urging Invernessians to stop excessive outside watering, or even think about plant triage – deciding which plants might have to be sacrificed. “We’ve never had to go beyond that,” McMorrow says. “The town is receptive to the informal approach. And on our end, we also try to be good neighbors”


So what does McMorrow recommend for the residents of Inverness? “People should exercise common sense and be conscious of water use.”