Tag Archives: Water

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.”



Mandatory 25 percent water reduction to affect NMWD customers

By now, West Marin residents residing in communities served by North Marin Water District (NMWD) have received the spring 2014 Water Line newsletter alerting them of dry year conditions on Lagunitas Creek. These conditions are no surprise as we all are well aware of the ongoing California drought. Water flow in Lagunitas Creek comes from natural runoff and is supplemented with water released from Kent Lake by Marin Municipal Water District to protect fish, pursuant to a 1995 order by the State Water Resources Control Board.

This year, due to the drought, the State order stipulates that Marin Municipal maintain lower flows in the creek to preserve Kent Lake storage for domestic and in stream use later in the year. From June 15 through November 1 the flows will be reduced by 25 percent compared to normal year summer creek flows. NMWD water supply for the West Marin communities of Point Reyes Station, Olema, Bear Valley, Inverness Park and Paradise Ranch Estates comes from wells adjacent to Lagunitas Creek near the U.S. Coast Guard Housing Facility in Point Reyes.

The West Marin water supply is regulated by the State as surface water diverted from Lagunitas Creek, but is considered ground water per water treatment regulations. There is no physical interconnection between the West Marin water system and NMWD’s much larger Novato water system. That same 1995 State Water Board order requiring Marin Municipal stream releases for fish told NMWD that our West Marin water rights were junior in priority and could not be used in summer months of dry years.

In year 2000, NMWD purchased a senior water right, which had been used for irrigation on the old Waldo Giacomini Ranch. As NMWD perfected that senior water right for municipal use in West Marin, several environmental groups protested the change from irrigation use to municipal, arguing that municipal use would grow over time. NMWD settled the protest and one of the settlement obligations was to enact a 25 percent reduction in water use during summer months of dry years, coincident with the 25 percent reduction in Lagunitas Creek stream flow.

This is the first time dry year conditions have been experienced pursuant to the 1995 State Water Board order. The NMWD Board of Directors has declared a water shortage emergency and is requiring mandatory conservation measures to achieve a 25 percent reduction in water use community wide. You can help by not wasting water, reducing outdoor watering and participating in NMWD water conservation programs.

Customers can visit our website www.nmwd.com and select the Your Account tab, then click on Account Balance & Consumption to find your individual reduction target. Visit www.wateroff.org and access the Water Savings Calculator link under the Tips button to explore water saving measures and reach your target.

Customers are invited to a Public Hearing at the Dance Palace in Point Reyes Station on June 24 at 7:30pm where the NMWD Board of Directors will consider a rate increase including a drought surcharge to be in effect during the mandatory water conservation period. In the past, West Marin residents have worked together for the betterment of the community to meet various challenges.

I’m hopeful that community spirit will be exhibited this summer. Working together we can do our part to insure water is available for all, including fish, during this dry year on Lagunitas Creek.

Dennis J. Rodoni, is president of the North Marin Water District