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Sonoma Public Infrastructure (formerly TPW)

For Immediate Release

Jenner by the Sea to get water system upgrade

SANTA ROSA, CA | July 19, 2022

The County of Sonoma Department of Transportation and Public Works today announced the department has received a $74,000 grant from the California Department of Water Resources to install smart meters for the water system serving approximately 128 connections in the community of Jenner by the Sea. The funding comes as part of an overall $5 million award from the Urban and Multi-benefit Drought Relief Grant Program, which was filed by Humboldt County on behalf of the North Coast Funding Area. The project aligns with both the Resilient Infrastructure and Climate Action and Resiliency pillars of Sonoma County’s Five-Year Strategic Plan.

“Jenner is in a water scarce area that is compounded by ongoing drought and an aging water system that loses between 74,000 to 307,000 gallons of water per month,” said Lynda Hopkins, Sonoma County Supervisor for District Five which includes Jenner. “By switching to smart meters, we can identify if that water loss is due to unrecorded usage or leaks. That means better conservation and better information regarding any necessary repairs to the system.”

In the absence of obvious signs of a system leak such as pooling water, officials have been unable to pinpoint whether current water loss of up to 50 percent of production is due to the age and deterioration of the current equipment resulting in unrecorded use from low flows of water, or from unidentified leaks in the system.

“The Jenner community's water supply, like all water supplies, has been severely impacted by the ongoing drought, with residents asked to reduce usage by 40 percent to conserve potable water,” said James Gore, Chair of the Board of Supervisors. “But conservation is not effective if we are unable to identify how and why water is being lost in the system. This grant will help ensure both the quality and reliability of the community’s water supply, now and in the future.”

Given the age and limitations of the community’s current water meters, residents do not have a clear idea of how much water they are using. This makes effective conservation more difficult and prevents the water district from having reliable data with which to pinpoint efforts.

Over the coming months, the county’s contracted operator, Russian River Utilities, will swap out existing meters with new smart meters, which will track daily usage that will be collected and placed in a cloud-based system. New plastic lids will replace existing concrete vault lids to facilitate good signal strength at each replacement meter location.

In addition to the water system for Jenner by the Sea, the County of Sonoma Department of Transportation and Public Works oversees water systems for the communities of Fitch Mountain, Freestone and Salmon Creek.

Media Contact: 
Carly Cabrera
Supervising County Communications Specialist
(707) 565-3040