Sonoma Water
Released by: Water Agency
For Immediate Release

Outreach to Rural Well-Owners Underway

Santa Rosa, CA  –  December 2, 2020  –  Approximately 9,500 rural well owners in Sonoma County will soon be receiving a survey designed to elicit their concerns and ideas about local groundwater conditions. This joint project of the county’s three Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) is the first step in an engagement project designed to educate and receive feedback from well owners in the Petaluma Valley, Santa Rosa Plain and Sonoma Valley groundwater basins.

Sonoma County has one of the highest concentrations of rural well owners in the state, a majority of whom rely on groundwater as their only source of water. Collectively, rural well owners represent a significant percentage of total groundwater use throughout the county. This week rural well owners will receive a survey in the mail asking for their opinions and thoughts on groundwater and groundwater management. Well owners can complete the survey in either English or Spanish, and return by mail or online.

“The Sonoma County GSAs are eager to hear the thoughts of rural well owners as we develop our local, state-mandated Groundwater Sustainability Plans. Personally, I’m very interested in hearing the concerns and ideas of people living in the Petaluma Valley,” said Sonoma County Supervisor David Rabbitt, who serves as the chair of the Petaluma Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA).

The engagement plan, which was funded by a grant from the California Department of Water Resources through the  Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 and the California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access For All Act of 2018 (Proposition 68), includes the mail-in survey and focus groups; the development of a community outreach campaign; and a feasibility analyses of potential future revenue sources.

“Sonoma Valley residents are generally educated about groundwater issues, and we’re hoping that they will take a few minutes to complete the survey and share their thoughts,” said Sonoma County Supervisor Susan Gorin, who chairs the Sonoma Valley GSA.

“People who have wells in the basin and those who rely on groundwater for their livelihood are important voices as the Santa Rosa Plain develops its Groundwater Sustainability Plan,” said Sonoma County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, who is Chair of the Santa Rosa Plain GSA.

A Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) is a 20-year plan to ensure the sustainable use of groundwater within a groundwater basin. The three Sonoma County GSAs are required by the state Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) to develop GSPs by 2022.  The goals of the GSPs are to establish local criteria to for sustainably managing groundwater, and to determine how each basin will achieve sustainability.

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Ann DuBay

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